The Syracuse community has been joining the remainder of the nation with hopes for signs the economy will improve in 2011. Cautious optimism has come from a report by Catherine Clifford of CNNMoney in her article “Unemployment claims fall again”, http://bit.ly/fIEl7W
Clifford has reported that a hopeful sign for the economy has been that the number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits unexpectedly has fallen for the third week in a row. The Labor Department has said that the number of initial unemployment claims has dropped to 420,000 in the week ending Dec. 18, which was down from 423,000 claims the previous week. Economists who were surveyed by Briefing.com, http://briefing.com, had been expecting 424,000 new unemployment claims.
The 4-week moving average of initial claims is a statistic that tries to smooth out week-to-week volatility and was at 426,000, which was an increase of 2,500 from the previous week’s average of 423,500. Robert Brusca, the chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics, said the number for the moving average was higher because the mathematic formula used to calculate this covers a period of several weeks. However, the overall trend is now a positive one. Brusca also said “The good news is that claims are clearly hovering at a lower level than they have been. This is a move into a better territory — it is a good move.”
The 4-week moving average has held between 400,000 and 500,000 for over a year. Although during the last few weeks, the average has been moving toward the lower end of that range, most economists say it still needs to fall below 400,000 to be significant. Brusca has gone on to say “Once we break 400, people are going to start being a little bit more optimistic that the economy is in better shape, and we are getting close enough that we could do that pretty soon if we continue to make this progress.”
The government has reported that 4,064,000 people filed unemployment claims for their second week or more, during the week ended Dec. 11. That figure is down by 103,000 from the week before. Economists had been anticipating 4,075,000 people to file ongoing claims. And the 4-week moving average for continuing claims fell by 38,250 to 4,155,500. Continuing claims is a reflection of people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which generally lasts 26 weeks. These statistics do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, or people who have exhausted their benefits and are still out of a job.
The Syracuse community is hoping along with other communities across the nation for a continued downward trend in unemployment with a further strengthening of the economy next year.
Photographer: renjith krishnan
Mandel News Service: http://www.mandelnews.com