Ongoing jobless claims plummet to 17-month low

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of people filing for ongoing unemployment insurance plummeted by 255,000 to the lowest level since December 2008, according to government figures released Thursday.

According to a Labor Department report, 4,462,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended May 29, the latest week available. That's down more than a quarter-million from the previous week.

"People are just falling off the rolls here," said Steve Stahler, president of The Stahler Group. "This isn't good news."

Continuing claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, nor people who have exhausted their benefits.

"We saw from the last jobs report that the private sector isn't hiring," Stahler said.

Last week a government report showed employers added 431,000 jobs in May -- but 411,000 of those were temporary Census positions.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims was 4,617,500, a decrease of 49,250 from the previous week. Moving averages aim to smooth out week-by-week volatility.

Initial claims: Meanwhile, the number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell slightly last week.

There were 456,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 5, down 3,000 from an upwardly revised 459,000 the previous week.

A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected 450,000 new claims for the week.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 463,000, up 2,500 from the previous week.

Outlook: Initial claims have been "marooned between 450,000 and 475,000," noted Tim Quinlan, economist at Wells Fargo.

"I don't see anything like mass hiring announcements, none of those signals we would look to for improvement," Quinlan added.

Initial claims figures will probably be range-bound for the next several months, Quinlan said, as the unemployment rate "treads water."

State-by-state data: Two states said initial claims fell by more than 1,000 for the week ended May 29, the most recent data available.

Claims in Wisconsin fell by 1,628, which a state-supplied comment attributed to fewer layoffs in the construction, trade, service and manufacturing industries. Texas said new claims fell by 1,063.

Four states said new claims rose by more than 1,000. Florida said claims rose by 3,460, California had 2,801 more claims, Arizona's jumped by 1,521 and Georgia claims rose by 1,158. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,960.57 -123.23 -0.72%
Nasdaq 4,449.56 -22.54 -0.50%
S&P 500 1,978.34 -9.64 -0.48%
Treasuries 2.47 -0.04 -1.59%
Data as of 5:38am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.59 -0.03 -0.19%
Ford Motor Co 17.62 -0.22 -1.23%
Applied Materials In... 21.23 -0.52 -2.41%
Intel Corp 34.25 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 25.97 0.14 0.54%
Data as of Jul 25

Sections

The food processing company accused of mishandling meat at its Shanghai, China plant says it will suspend sales and recall all food processed there. More

Is the economy back on track after a weak first quarter or about to get blown away? Investors will find out when the curtain is drawn on jobs and GDP data. There's also a Federal Reserve meeting. More

Louisiana is now the top location for motion picture filming, supporting thousands of new jobs and small businesses. More

Americans with disabilities face huge financial hurdles and it starts early on, according to a recent report. More

Market indexes 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. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.