Unemployment Applications Hit Three Year Low

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level since May 2008, a hopeful sign that layoffs are declining and hiring is picking up.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000 last week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped for the 10th time in the past 12 weeks, to 387,750. That is the lowest reading for the average since July 2008.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a measure of the pace of layoffs. Job cuts have fallen sharply since the recession, but so far employers are hiring at only a modest pace. When applications fall below 375,000 -- consistently -- that usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

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  • by Facts Location: Washington on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM
    You are only allotted so much time to recieve the benefits, at the end of which time you are no longer eligible. People have reached this point are no longer counted in the unemployment rate even though they are still out of work, and they are not going to fill applications for further help as they know they can not get it. Also, any one who was not listed on paper as a fulltime employee with thier company are not eligible for benefits, even those who worked average of 30-40hrs a week and held a position for several years; these people are also not included in unemployment rate. There are still a large number of people who lost thier jobs due to Bankrupt companies who have yet to find work and are no longer counted in these statistics as their eligibility time has expired, so yes, the number on paper has declined.
    • reply
      by JG on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:11 AM in reply to Facts
      Thank you... you are so right, unemployment isn't down, reporting it is the problem. I have friends that are not employeed and their benefits have run out and they are in serious trouble financially with nothing left to do but pray for a miracle.
  • by Data Man on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:39 AM
    Obama has really done alot for this country. He has done more for America than we will ever know. His family are leaders. His daughters represent what true American girls are about. His wife has more class than an other first lady. Thank you so much!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM in reply to Data Man
      He takes after his mother.
    • reply
      by Terry on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM in reply to Data Man
      Yes, obama has done alot for this country. More than we'll ever know. But you left out none of it is good. His family are not leaders...look it up in the dictionary, moochers and leaders ARE NOT the same.
    • reply
      by Reminder to Self on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM in reply to Data Man
      Just a reminder to myself - Ignore the trolls, Ignore the trolls!!!
    • reply
      by ANON on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM in reply to Data Man
      I can't leave this one alone... Name some specifics, things that didn't help to totally backrupt America. Inquiring minds want to know, and I know you have ALL the facts.
    • reply
      by Harold on Dec 15, 2011 at 01:42 PM in reply to Data Man
      I can see he has done a lot to this country... another article on this page tells of the number of homeless rising. Your usual lack of data and one sided spin.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:02 AM
    If hiring is picking up, please tell us how many people were hired during that time.
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:35 AM
    How about this? If things continue to get better, I will give the Republicans credit for everything they have done to make it happen. Which is NOTHING!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM in reply to Barlow
      you mean old barlow, you hurt my feelings
    • reply
      by WOW on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM in reply to Barlow
      And the Dumocraps have done what?
  • by Once Again I Ask on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:22 AM
    I ask the "experts" once again, PLEASE show me the statistics that show the number of people on welfare, food stamps and medicaid three years ago when Obama took office compared to today. Lets compare oranges to oranges please. I would also like to see the payroll figures, I know my husband had to take a pay cut in order for his company to stay afloat over a year ago and has yet to get it back (I will not mention the yearly increases that are a thing of the past). You democrats don't want to look at the ENTIRE picture, it would prove you wrong in backing this administration!!!
    • reply
      by Theresa on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM in reply to Once Again I Ask
      We are in the same boat as you are. It is the only time in the past 23 years that we are making less while everything else increases. People who live off the backs of us taxpayers are living better than we now are. Something is VERY wrong with this picture.I would like to know the statistics on govermnent assistance today as compared to 2008. Can anyone tell us where to find this info? The currant administration seems satisfied to make us all dependent on them. Scary...very, very scary.
  • by Annoyed Location: Hyde County on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:21 AM
    I think the figures are inaccurate. Some people are unemployed and not in the "unemployment application" numbers because they don't qualify for the benefits or it is so far to travel to the office to apply that they can't.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    How many gave up finding a job? count them.
  • by JD Location: Martin Co. on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:50 AM
    Truth is it a hit a low cause everybody's already on it
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:02 AM in reply to JD
      or has run out of it
    • reply
      by So to be in the number on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:09 AM in reply to JD
      Not everyone is on it yet. But by April you can add at least 150 more people as the company I work for will be laying that many, if not more, off then. Not looking good especially for us older people.
  • by Michael on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:26 AM
    its hard to get layed off when you dont have a job
  • by A Little Wiser Than You on Dec 15, 2011 at 06:20 AM
    Are the news media and Dept of Labor so ignorant in thinking these figures are an indication that layoffs are declining and hiring is picking up? FACT: It's temporary employment due to the holiday season! GET REAL FOLKS.
    • reply
      by Barlow on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:42 AM in reply to A Little Wiser Than You
      I believe they had holiday seasons over the last three years also. You don't really want things to get better do you? Why? Because that would almost ensure Obama getting another term and we wouldn't want that would we? It's sad that the hate for this man is so great among Republicans that they would rather see their neighbors suffer than have him re-elected. Get a grip!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:59 AM in reply to Barlow
        Typical BarSlow spewing his anti-republican garbage and Pro-Obama campaign. This article really isn't about neither but of course you try to make be.
      • reply
        by Cboy on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:01 AM in reply to Barlow
        Barlow it has nothing to do with hating Obama or not wanting things to get better so he won't get reelected, both are the most asinine statements ever made. If you think he should be reelected please tell us why, name any of his accomplishments that have helped put this country back on track.
    • reply
      by BlizzardBoy on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:46 AM in reply to A Little Wiser Than You
      Well, it appears you are really "A little less Wiser" since you would only have a point if the numbers were only going back to January 2011. They are going back to May 08, which encompasses the holiday seasons of 08, 09 and 2010 and thus the numbers for this November were still lower than those periods when there was also increases in employment due to temp holiday hires. Nice try, though.
      • reply
        by JohnnyRocket on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:45 AM in reply to BlizzardBoy
        I agree with A Little Wiser that its mostly holiday employment. But I guess we'll find out in January or February whether the numbers continue to rise.
      • reply
        by Boats on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:58 AM in reply to BlizzardBoy
        And let's not forget. People whose benefits have expired aren't filing for unemployment either. That puts the whole number in question.
    • reply
      by Once Again I Ask on Dec 15, 2011 at 08:25 AM in reply to A Little Wiser Than You
      Don't forget the fact that most, if not all, of the jobs that this administration can honestly take credit for are also temporary, tax payer funded jobs, just like Obama's so called "jobs bill"!!!!
      • reply
        by Kardon on Dec 16, 2011 at 07:14 AM in reply to Once Again I Ask
        How about the auto industry!

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