Special Report Your Job

A break in a key jobless measure

Continuing claims fall for first time since the week ended Jan. 3. Weekly claims edge lower.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

How secure do you feel in your job?
  • Extremely secure
  • Fairly secure
  • A little insecure
  • Not secure at all

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ongoing claims for unemployment insurance declined for the first time since January, and the number of initial claims fell slightly, according to government data released Thursday.

"The downshift in claims continues but progress is painfully slow," wrote Ian Shepherdson, economist at High Frequency Economics, in a research note.

The government said 6,735,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended May 23, the most recent data available. That's a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,750,000.

The continuing claims total last declined in the week ended Jan. 3 -- a week that included the New Year's holiday. Continuing claims had hit record highs for 17 straight weeks.

The 4-week moving average for continuing claims was 6,687,500, an increase of 88,750 from the week prior.

Initial claims: There were 621,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended May 30, down from an upwardly revised 625,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. The week included the Memorial Day holiday.

Economists expected 620,000 new claims, according to a consensus survey by Briefing.com.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 631,250, up 4,000 from the previous week.

Claims had risen quickly since Lehman Brothers failed in September, Shepherdson noted, writing that a return to the "pre-Lehman level of 450,000 or so still seems a story for next year rather than this year."

"Feeble green shoots" in other areas of the economy "don't stop companies laying off staff, still less actually starting to hire again," he added.

State highs and lows: The largest increases for the week ended May 23, the most recent data available, were in Illinois, with 3,881; Iowa, at 2,312; South Carolina, with 1,792; Texas, at 1,548; and Wisconsin, 1,464. Those spikes were likely due to layoffs in the service and manufacturing industries, among others, the report said.

By contrast, seven states reported claims decreased by more than 1,000. North Carolina reported 3,952 fewer claims, which a state-supplied comment attributed to fewer layoffs in the construction, furniture, and transportation industries.

The national unemployment rate was 8.9% in April. A new nationwide report, for May, comes out Friday. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Want to buy -- and live in -- a piece of history? It's not that far out of reach. These historic homes are not only for sale, they are incredible bargains. More
5 ways retailers are tracking you If you think pesky salespeople are invading your personal space, check out these 5 technologies that are tracking your movements throughout a store. More
Moto X vs. Droid Turbo: Which Droid should you buy? Motorola has made the two best Android smartphones this year. Here's how they stack up. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.