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Data points to strengthening growth, jobs..thoughts?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless aid hit the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years last week and service sector hiring picked up in February, signs the labor market recovery was quickening.

Another report on Thursday confirmed business productivity picked up a bit in the fourth quarter, but it also underscored a slowing trend that suggested employers may have to step-up hiring even further.

"There can be no denial that a strengthening in labor market conditions is under way, as layoffs have dropped sharply since the beginning of the year," said Jim Baird, a partner at Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Initial claims for state jobless benefits dropped 20,000 to 368,000, the lowest since May 2008, the Labor Department said.

Economists had forecast claims rising to 398,000. The four-week average of claims, a better measure of underlying trends, fell below 400,000 for first time since July 2008.

Separately, growth in the huge U.S. services sector touched a fresh 5-1/2 year high in February.

The Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing activity edged up to 59.7, the highest since August 2005, from 59.4 in January. Its employment component rose to 55.6, its highest level since April 2006, from 54.5.

A reading above 50 shows an expansion in the sector, which accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. economy. A services employment gauge hit its highest level since April 2006.

Answer Question
 
sweet-a-kins

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 4:17 PM on Mar. 3, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 4:17 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • I think that alot of people have come off the unemployment rolls is all. They dont get counted anymore when they arent collecting. They also dont county people under employed.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 4:20 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • I think that alot of people have come off the unemployment rolls is all.

    Apparently you didnt read...but thanks anyway
    sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 4:23 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • Yes Ma'am I did read but that doesnt change my opinion. I actually live in an area where many have come off the rolls but did not get jobs. But thanks for reminding me theres no point in trying to answer your questions.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 4:26 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • I would like to see a report of both state and federal claims. With extended claims from the stimulus being paid, people actually "graduated" onto the bill of "federal" and were taken off the "state" roll. So, these statictics are not complete.

    The fact that the "state" unemployment numbers are lower than 2008 does not say much to me.

    And, there IS the factor of underemployment. People not working 40 hours like they used to. There are no statistics about that in the article.

    That being said, the other statistic may or may not be hand chosen to prove the writers point. I don't think that just reporting on the non-manufacuring sector is a full and complete description of an economic trend.

    We are currently in our second housing dip and unemployment is still seriously bad. Foreclosure and short-sales are still back-logged and Fannie and Freddie are being dismantles, which is going to raise interest rates.

    ImaginationMama

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 4:33 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • Talk to us next week when they revise the good numbers down, just like they do EVERY SINGLE MONTH a week after they release them.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:34 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • So, when Unemployment rose, it was due to the weather..... Let me guess~ the weather is better in the Lower 48 these days?

    grlygrlz2

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 4:47 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • Gemgem... it referred to NEW claims. Not continuing claims. Continuing claims don't get counted in this report.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 5:29 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • I was reading an article in the paper..haven't finished it yet though...it was talking about productivity being up but taxable wages are down. This is for Oregon. I don't have a link..sorry...not trying to prove anything...just mentioning something. The article was talking about how this is bothersome because it likely means wages have been cut. I wanted to say "no $hit Sherlock, what gave you your first clue"....but I didn't I just didn't finish the article. The assessment, "duh" though it is happens to be very typical for our area.

    As far as the rest of it goes....there are too many things that can skew the #'s. I'll wait a week or 2.

    gemgem....YOU ROCK!
    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 5:33 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

  • Initial claims for state jobless benefits dropped 20,000 to 368,000, the lowest since May 2008, the Labor Department said.

    Economists had forecast claims rising to 398,000. The four-week average of claims, a better measure of underlying trends, fell below 400,000 for first time since July 2008.

    Separately, growth in the huge U.S. services sector touched a fresh 5-1/2 year high in February.

    The Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing activity edged up to 59.7, the highest since August 2005, from 59.4 in January. Its employment component rose to 55.6, its highest level since April 2006, from 54.5.

    ***
    That's an awful lot of number crunching there, sweets...why don't explain it to us "dopes!" LOL...that ought to be amusing! ;o)
    LoriKeet

    Answer by LoriKeet at 6:02 PM on Mar. 3, 2011

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