Layoffs Slowing But Few Firms Hiring

The U.S. Dept of Labor reported today that initial jobless claims for the week of Dec 26 fell slightly to 438,000 from the prior week’s revised figure of 454,000. Continuing claims (reported for the week of 12/19) remained essentially unchanged at 4.981 million from the revised figure of 5.038 million for the previous week.

Today’s report suggests the job market continues to stabilize. Claims for emergency unemployment compensation (for week of Dec 12), however, totaled 4,448,914, an increase of 191,669 from the prior week. There were 1,567,930 claimants in the comparable week in 2008.

States reporting the highest unemployment rates include: Alaska (7.4 percent unemployment), Oregon (6.1), Puerto Rico (5.8), Wisconsin (5.6), Michigan (5.5), Idaho (5.4), Montana (5.4), Nevada (5.4), Pennsylvania (5.4), and California (5.3).

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