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October 22, 2004

A Little Afternoon Cowbell

Too late to influence the election, but it's nice to know the economy is getting healthier.

Jobless claims down again:

WASHINGTON - The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits fell sharply last week, offering a dose of encouraging news that the recovery in the labor market may be strengthening a bit.

The Labor Department (news - web sites) reported Thursday that new filings for unemployment insurance declined by a seasonally adjusted 25,000 to 329,000 for the week ending Oct. 16. That marked the lowest level since early September. In the prior week, claims had climbed by 16,000.

The latest snapshot of the layoffs climate was better than economists were expecting. They were forecasting claims to total in the 345,000 range.

The more stable, four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, decreased by 5,500 last week to 348,250, the best showing since late September.

Thanks to Mark.

And highlights from the Joint Economic Committee's latest report on state employment:

* Over the past year (since September 2003), the unemployment rate has fallen in 46 states. 36 states have unemployment rates at or below the national unemployment rate of 5.4 percent.

* Non-farm payroll employment has increased in 47 states over the past year. The largest over-the-year gains in employment occurred in Florida (+125,500), Texas (+123,700), California (+121,900), Virginia (+81,900), and New Jersey (+68,800).

* In 2004, 49 states have added new payroll jobs.

* Non-farm payroll employment increased in 33 states in September. The states with the largest payroll job gains during September were Kansas (+12,400), New Jersey (+12,000), Missouri (+10,400), Nevada (+6,700), and Texas (+6,500).


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posted by Ace at 12:59 PM

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