Unemployment Claims Remain High
New applications for US unemployment benefits remained high for a second week, raising concerns that the labor market improvement may be slowing down again.
In the week ending April 21, initial jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, from the previous week’s revised figure of 389,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending April 14, showing little change from the prior week.
The four-week moving average of claims which smooths out week-to-week volatility, increased by 6,250 to 381,750 — the highest reading since January.
Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman said Wednesday that the unseasonably warm weather early in the year may have played a role in the unpredictable numbers.
“The weather issue just reflects how difficult it can be to make real-time assessments” on the state of the economy, he said.
Last month the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent.
On Wednesday, the Fed anticipated that the unemployment rate would continue to decline slowly, reaching between 7.8 percent and 8.0 percent by the end of 2012 and falling to between 7.3 percent and 7.7 percent by the end of 2013.