US Jobless Aid Applications Fall To 5-Year Low - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

US Jobless Aid Applications Fall To 5-Year Low

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a five-year low last week, a hopeful sign the job market is healing. But much of the decline reflects seasonal volatility in the data.
    
Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level since January 2008, just after the recession began.
    
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 359,250.
    
The applications data can be uneven in January. Job cuts typically spike in the second week of the month as retailers, restaurants and other companies lay off temporary workers hired for the winter holidays.
    
Last week, the layoffs weren't as large as expected, a department spokesman said. That caused a steep drop in the seasonally adjusted data.
    
Overall, applications remain at a level that suggests employers are hiring at a slow but steady pace. Applications fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 for most of last year. At the same time, employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month.
    
That's just been enough to slowly push down the unemployment rate, which fell 0.7 percentage points last year to 7.8 percent.
    
Employers added 155,000 jobs last month, nearly matching the average for the year. December's steady job gain suggests employers didn't cut back on hiring in the midst of the debate over the tax and spending changes known as the fiscal cliff. Many economists feared that the prospect of higher taxes and steep cuts in federal spending would cause a slowdown in job gains.
    
That's a good sign, since more budget showdowns are expected. Congress must vote to raise the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by sometime between mid-February and early March. If not, the government risks defaulting on its debt. Republicans will likely demand deep spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit.
    
The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the July-September quarter. But economists believe activity slowed considerably in the October-December quarter to a rate below 2 percent or less, in part because companies cut back on restocking.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Speed thought to be a factor in fatal Newman Lake crash

    Speed thought to be a factor in fatal Newman Lake crash

    Thursday, July 27 2017 2:04 AM EDT2017-07-27 06:04:53 GMT

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a fatal crash that happened north of Newman Lake Wednesday afternoon, but they say speed was likely a factor.  Investigators on scene say an SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed heading west on Muzzy Road when the driver missed a curve and slammed into a tree.

    >>

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a fatal crash that happened north of Newman Lake Wednesday afternoon, but they say speed was likely a factor.  Investigators on scene say an SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed heading west on Muzzy Road when the driver missed a curve and slammed into a tree.

    >>
  • Medical call turns violent, man pulls gun on Spokane firefighters

    Medical call turns violent, man pulls gun on Spokane firefighters

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 9:03 PM EDT2017-07-27 01:03:50 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to save others: Walking through burning buildings, performing water rescues, and fighting brush fires. But, what was at first a normal medical call last week turned into a very dangerous situation for Spokane firefighters. "The person went from a normal status like you and I talking here to extremely violent," said Spokane Fire Chief Schaeffer.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to save others: Walking through burning buildings, performing water rescues, and fighting brush fires. But, what was at first a normal medical call last week turned into a very dangerous situation for Spokane firefighters. "The person went from a normal status like you and I talking here to extremely violent," said Spokane Fire Chief Schaeffer.

    >>
  • Is there an alligator in Clear Lake?

    Is there an alligator in Clear Lake?

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:47 PM EDT2017-07-27 00:47:57 GMT

    YAKIMA, Wash. - A picture of what appears to be an alligator in Clear Lake is making the rounds on Facebook. The viral post has more than 4,000 shares and asks the question: Is there a gator among us? While it cannot be confirmed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it’s likely not an alligator.

    >>

    YAKIMA, Wash. - A picture of what appears to be an alligator in Clear Lake is making the rounds on Facebook. The viral post has more than 4,000 shares and asks the question: Is there a gator among us? While it cannot be confirmed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it’s likely not an alligator.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/