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Applications for Unemployment Benefits Tick Down Only Slightly



Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 3,000 for the week ending Feb. 15, bringing the total to 336,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 339,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, saw an increase of 1,750, bringing the total to 338,500, up from the previous unrevised average of 336,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending February 8, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate,” the Labor Department report reads.

“ The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 8 was 2,981,000, an increase of 37,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,944,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,959,750, a decrease of 6,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,966,250,” the report adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 8 were Georgia (+7,229), North Carolina (+1,347), South Carolina (+1,292), Alabama (+1,191), and California (+1,145).

Meanwhile, New York (-2,721), Ohio (-2,348), New Jersey (-2,035), Connecticut (-1,149), and New Hampshire (-1,146) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

“A total of 3.52 million Americans received benefits as of Jan. 25 – the latest data available – up from 3.47 million the previous week,” the Associated Press reported.

“Employers added just 113,000 jobs in January, a second straight weak showing after just 75,000 new jobs in December. Economists have partly blamed December’s figures on extremely cold weather,” it added.

The Associated Press notes: “A total of 3.53 million Americans received benefits as of Feb. 1 - the latest period for which figures are available - up from 3.52 million the previous week.”

Markets are poised to open mixed this morning:


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This story has been updated.

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