Report: Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.2% in March

April 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on Report: Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.2% in March 

The job market slowed in March as companies hit the brakes on hiring amid uncertainty about the economy’s growth prospects. The unemployment rate dipped, but mostly because more Americans stopped looking for work.

The Labor Department says the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, down from more than 200,000 in each of the previous three months, The Associated Press reported.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, the lowest since January 2009. But the rate dropped because fewer people searched for jobs. The official unemployment tally only includes those seeking work.

Despite the pullback in March, the economy has added 858,000 jobs since December — the best four months of hiring in two years.

Slower job growth could threaten a recent rise in consumer confidence and dent investors’ enthusiasm for stocks. It also could prove a setback for President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes.

But economists noted that it’s just one month after three solid gains.

Good News: New Jobless Claims Hit 4-Year Low

April 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Good News: New Jobless Claims Hit 4-Year Low 

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell to a four-year low last week, suggesting employers kept hiring in March at a healthy pace.

Weekly applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said today (April 5). That’s the fewest since April 2008, The Associated Press reported.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 361,750, also the lowest in four years.

Applications have been steadily declining since last fall. The four-week average fell 4 percent in the January-March quarter, after dropping 8 percent in the final three months of last year.

When unemployment benefit applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The downward trend in applications is a promising sign ahead of Friday’s report on March job growth. Employers added an average of 245,000 jobs per month from December through February. And the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in August to 8.3 percent in February, the lowest in three years.

Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Since March 2009

December 2, 2011 by · Comments Off on Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Since March 2009 

Nation's jobless rate fell to 8.6% in October, lowest since March 2009. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than 2 1/2 years. More people out of work either found jobs or gave up looking and were no longer counted as unemployed.

The Labor Department said that the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.6%, down from 9% in October. The rate hasn’t been that low since March 2009, during the depths of the recession, The Associated Press reported.

About 13.3 million Americans remain unemployed.

Employers added 120,000 jobs last month. And the previous two months were revised up to show that 72,000 more jobs added — the fourth straight month that the government has revised prior months higher.

Private employers added a net gain of 140,000 jobs in November. But governments shed 20,000 jobs, mostly at the local and state level. Governments at all levels have shed nearly a half-million jobs in the past year.

More than half the jobs added last month were by retailers, restaurants and bars, a sign that holiday hiring has kicked in. Professional and business services also rose. That means the economy likely added higher-paying jobs — more engineers, accountants and high-tech workers.

The government’s report is based on two surveys: One looks at employers’ payrolls, and the other surveys households.

The household survey, which is used to determine the unemployment rate, showed bigger job gains than the employer survey for the fourth straight month.