Ap­pli­ca­tions for U.S. job­less aid drop again

The Detroit News - - Front Page - Wire ser­vices

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.

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