Amer­i­cans en­joy job se­cu­rity

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS EXTRA -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Six years af­ter a bru­tal re­ces­sion that wiped out more than 8.5 mil­lion jobs, Amer­i­cans are now en­joy­ing a nearly un­prece­dented level of job se­cu­rity. The num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing U.S. un­em­ploy­ment aid plunged last week to the low­est in nearly 42 years. Ap­pli­ca­tions for job­less ben­e­fits are a proxy for lay­offs, so the low level in­di­cates that em­ploy­ers are keep­ing their staffs and likely hir­ing at a steady pace. Weekly ap­pli­ca­tions for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits fell 26,000 to 255,000, the fewest since Novem­ber 1973, the La­bor Depart­ment said Thurs­day. If the data were ad­justed for the growth of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion since then, last week’s fig­ure would likely be an all-time low. The four-week av­er­age, a less volatile num­ber, fell 4,000 to 278,500. The av­er­age has fluc­tu­ated around that fig­ure since May. That is a far cry from the depths of the 2008-2009 Great Re­ces­sion, when more than 600,000 peo­ple were ap­ply­ing for job­less aid each week. One rea­son for last week’s drop, how­ever, is that auto plants and other fac­to­ries close briefly in July to pre­pare for next year’s mod­els. That pushed up ap­pli­ca­tions in the pre­vi­ous two weeks. Now that many fac­to­ries have re­opened, ap­pli­ca­tions have fallen back. "We should al­ways take this sum­mer pe­riod for claims with a grain of salt,’’ said Jen­nifer Lee, an economist at BMO Cap­i­tal Mar­kets. "From a long-term per­spec­tive, we’re still look­ing at claims bob­bing around at the low­est level in ages.’’

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