Jobless Claims UP, Productivity DOWN
More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the labor market is making progress in fits and starts. Jobless claims in the week ended Nov. 9 declined 2,000 to 339,000 from a revised 341,000 the week before that was higher than initially reported, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The median forecast of 51 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 330,000. Applications for five states were estimated because of the Veterans Day holiday-shortened week. Companies, already running lean after the recession, are trying to determine the optimum level for their workforces as political gridlock in Washington prevents lawmakers from reaching a compromise for this fiscal year’s budget. A pick-up in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, is needed to help drive growth and boost hiring in the fourth quarter.
The productivity of U.S. workers rose less than projected in the third quarter, showing employers are finding it difficult to boost efficiency. The measure of employee output per hour increased at a 1.9 percent annualized rate, after a revised 1.8 percent gain in the prior three months that was smaller than previously estimated. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 59 economists called for a 2.2 percent gain. Expenses per worker dropped at a 0.6 percent rate. Employers will need to boost efficiency in a bid to bolster profits as consumer spending and business investment are having trouble gaining momentum. Nonetheless, businesses are finding it difficult to squeeze more from existing staff indicating hiring will need to pick up along with sales.
Initial Jobless Claims
Unit Labor Costs
Assistant State Treasurer
Chief Investment Officer
State of Louisiana
Department of the Treasury