US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low - WFLA News Channel 8

US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON DC (WFLA) -

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, a fresh five-year low. The decline signals fewer layoffs and possibly more hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped 6,250 to 336,750. That the fewest since November 2007, before the recession began.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Weekly applications have fallen about 9 percent since November and are now at a level consistent with a healthy economy.

The job market has also improved over the past six months. Net job gains have averaged of 208,000 a month from November through April. That's up from only 138,000 a month in the previous six months.

Still, much of the job growth has come from fewer layoffs - not increased hiring. Layoffs fell in January to the lowest level on records dating back 12 years, though they have risen moderately since then. At the same time, overall hiring remains far below pre-recession levels and unemployment remains high at 7.5 percent.

For hiring to increase enough to rapidly lower the unemployment rate, companies must gain more confidence in the economy. But some have held off adding new workers in recent months, possibly because of concerns about the impact of federal spending cuts and tax increases. And an increase in Social Security taxes could slow consumer spending, which drives nearly two-thirds of economic activity.

The Federal Reserve said last week that the federal government's policy changes are "restraining economic growth."

Still, even modest job gains could provide consumers with more money to offset the impact of the tax increase. Total wages rose 3.6 percent in April compared with a year earlier. That's comfortably ahead of the 1.5 percent inflation rate.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March, a big improvement from the anemic growth of 0.4 percent in the final three months of last year. But most economists expect growth will slow in the current quarter to 2 percent or lower.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against them

    Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against them

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:08:40 GMT
    After East Lake residents fed up with stinky, cloudy water won a big battle against their utility company, they say Pluris American Infrastructure is retaliating against them.
    After East Lake residents fed up with stinky, cloudy water won a big battle against their utility company, they say Pluris American Infrastructure is retaliating against them.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Captain of sunken South Korean ferry arrested

    Captain of sunken South Korean ferry arrested

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:11 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:11:39 GMT
    Rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of ferry passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, as fresh questions emerged about whether quicker action by the captain of the doomed ship could have saved lives.
    The captain of a sunken South Korean ferry was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, as investigators looked into whether his evacuation order came too late to save lives. Two crew...
  • Rodents, roaches close 6 Tampa Bay restaurants

    Rodents, roaches close 6 Tampa Bay restaurants

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:47:53 GMT
    State inspectors found rodents or roaches and temporarily closed six Tampa Bay eateries on our list of restaurants with the most violations from April 7 to 13, 2014.
    State inspectors found rodents or roaches and temporarily closed six Tampa Bay eateries on our list of restaurants with the most violations from April 7 to 13, 2014.
  • $100,000 bond for Citrus dad accused of killing son so he could play video games

    $100,000 bond for Citrus dad accused of killing son so he could play video games

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:43:14 GMT
    Cody Eugene Wygant, 24, of Homosassa, is charged with child neglect with great bodily harm and third-degree murder in connection with the death of his son, Daymeon Wygant.
    Cody Eugene Wygant, 24, of Homosassa, is charged with child neglect with great bodily harm and third-degree murder in connection with the death of his son, Daymeon Wygant.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Citrus dad killed son so he could play video games, says Sheriff's Office

    Citrus dad killed son so he could play video games, says Sheriff's Office

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:43:43 GMT
    A Citrus County father is charged with killing his one-year-old son so he could keep playing video games.
    A Citrus County father is charged with killing his one-year-old son so he could keep playing video games.
  • Knoxville woman finds body under deck during Easter egg hunt

    Knoxville woman finds body under deck during Easter egg hunt

    April 18, 2014 07:19 AM 2014-04-18 12:19:00 GMT
    A mother was shocked to discover the odor she'd smelled was a dead body underneath the deck of her Knoxville home.
    A mother was shocked to discover the odor she'd smelled was a dead body underneath the deck of her Knoxville home.
  • Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-04-02 03:26:55 GMT
    "Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo"Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.