Jobless Claims Fall; Fourth Drop In Five Weeks - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Jobless Claims Fall; Fourth Drop In Five Weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell further last week, ending the year on a three-month run of declines that point to stronger hiring in 2012.

Weekly applications dropped by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 last week, the Labor Department said. That's 11% lower than the same time last year and a positive sign ahead of Friday's important read on December job growth.

The four-week average, which smooths fluctuations, fell to 373,250 — the lowest level since June 2008.

When applications drop below 375,000 — consistently — they generally signal that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

Hiring strengthened at the end of last year, and economists expect it will pick up even further this year.

Economists surveyed by the Associated Press project that the economy will generate an average of 175,000 jobs per month this year. That would be a step up from average monthly gains of 130,000 last year and 78,000 in 2010.

On Friday, the Labor Department reports on employment conditions in December. Economists predict that employers added 150,000 net jobs, which would be an improvement from November's gain of 120,000.

In November, the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9% a month earlier. Still, about half that decline occurred because many of the unemployed gave up looking for work. When people stop looking for a job, they're no longer counted as unemployed.

Another positive sign for hiring came earlier this week. A trade group reported that manufacturers boosted hiring last month as production and new orders rose to their highest levels since April.

The pickup in hiring reflects some modest improvement in the economy. Growth will likely top 3% at an annual rate in the final three months of this year, economists expect. That would be a sharp improvement over the 1.8% growth in the July-September quarter.

Even so, economists worry that growth could then slow in the first half of 2012. Europe is almost certain to fall into recession because of its financial troubles. And without more jobs and higher incomes, consumers may have to cut back on spending. That could drag on growth in 2012.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    Saturday, February 17 2018 5:23 PM EST2018-02-17 22:23:29 GMT

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>
  • Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:10 AM EST2018-02-18 16:10:32 GMT

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>
  • Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Saturday, February 17 2018 10:46 PM EST2018-02-18 03:46:19 GMT

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/