The U.S. Department of Labor this week revealed that initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits was down to 334,000 for the week ending July 13. That number is down 24,000 from the previous week, and down 48,000 from the same week one year ago.
The numbers spark hope that the U.S. economy, or at least hiring numbers, is improving. The four-week moving average for unemployment insurance benefit claims is also down by more than 5,000 claims. There are now just over 4.5 million Americans claiming unemployment insurance benefits, down from over 5.75 million one year before.
According to an Associated Press report on the Labor Department numbers, the good news could be tempered by an odd quirk of the automotive manufacturing industry. Though manufacturers normally shut down their factories during the first two weeks of July to prepare for a new run of updated models, the report states that manufacturers this year have kept factories moving due to high demand.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that 28 states saw an increase in unemployment rates during June, with only 11 states seeing a decrease. At the same time, payroll employment increased in 37 states. Nevada currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country with 9.6%, followed closely by Illinois (9.2%) and Mississippi (9%).
(via Associated Press)