Applications for U.S. jobless aid drop again
Washington — The number of unemployed workers filing for jobless benefits fell by 2,000 last week to 236,000, the lowest level in five weeks and further evidence of the strength in the labor market.
Last week’s applications total was the third consecutive weekly drop, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 750 to 241,500.
The number of people receiving aid fell by 52,000 to 1.91 million, remaining near a four-decade low set last month.
Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The weekly number has been below 300,000 for close to three years, a stretch not seen in more than four decades. The government will release the November unemployment figure on Friday and private economists believe that figure will show unemployment remaining at 4.1 percent.
Stocks lift U.S. wealth, yet most trail ’07 peak
Washington – Surging stock prices and steady increases in home values powered American household wealth to $96.9 trillion this fall, The Federal Reserve said Thursday. The gains, however, aren’t widely shared.
U.S. wealth has made a remarkable comeback since the recession, when it plummeted more than $10 trillion to $56.2 trillion. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation or population growth, nor broken out by income levels.
In 2016, the latest figures available, median household wealth was still 34 percent below its prerecession, 2007 level. Average household wealth, meanwhile, fully recovered from the downturn and was 7 percent higher last year. The average figure is pulled up by very wealthy families.
“What you’re seeing is wealth flowing to the very top even more so than in the Great Recession,” Wolff said.
The Fed’s latest figures come as Congress is considering reducing taxes on corporations. Yet the Fed’s Thursday report shows that U.S. corporations currently have a hefty $2.4 trillion in cash.