The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

December 13, 2013

National unemployment applications surge to 368K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 68,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the largest increase in more than a year.

The surge in first-time applications could be a troubling sign if it lasts. But it likely reflects the difficulty adjusting for delays after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose 6,000 to 328,750. That is close to pre-recession levels and generally a positive sign for job gains.

Applications had tumbled in recent weeks to nearly six-year lows, partly because of a late Thanksgiving holiday that may have distorted the government’s seasonal adjustments. Economists believe this week’s jump in claims was a dose of payback.

“What the seasonals give in one month they have to take back the next, hence today’s number,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Applications for unemployment aid are a proxy for layoffs. A steady decline over the past year suggests that fewer Americans have lost their jobs. Economists will track the next few weeks closely to see if that trend is reversing, or if the surge is a temporary blip caused by seasonal adjustments.

The recent drop in layoffs has coincided with a pickup in hiring. The economy has added an average of 204,000 jobs a month from August through November, up from an average of 146,000 in May through July.

Employers added 203,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent, the government said Friday. Four straight months of robust hiring have raised hopes that 2014 will be the year the economy returns to normal. As more Americans draw a paycheck, incomes and consumer spending generally increase. About 70 percent of economic activity comes from consumer spending.

However, the unemployment rate remains above the historic averages of 5 percent to 6 percent that are associated strong job markets.

Text Only
National News
  • Police: Utah woman gave birth at home

    A Utah woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns gave birth each time in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Investigators have determined that Megan Huntsman, 39, did not go to a hospital to have the babies, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts said. He didn't say if anybody helped her give birth.

    April 16, 2014

  • Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings

    Classes resumed Wednesday at a Pittsburgh-area high school where authorities said a student stabbed or slashed 21 others and a security guard a week ago while rampaging through a hallway with two kitchen knives.

    Before school began, some students gathered at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on the football field behind Franklin Regional High School to pray and to support one another.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: GPS helped solve, didn't deter Calif. killings SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- GPS technology helped police link two convicted sex offenders to the rapes and killings of at least four women in California, but the mother of one victim said Tuesday that the monitoring system should have done more to prev

    April 16, 2014

  • Smithsonian Tyrannosaurus Rex-15 [Duplicate] T. rex gets new home in Smithsonian WASHINGTON -- More than 100 years after dinosaurs were first displayed on the National Mall, T. rex -- the king -- is joining the Smithsonian collection after a 2,000-mile journey from Montana. Paleontologists and curators unveiled parts of a nearly

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical Marijuana [Duplicate] Medical pot measure could boost Florida Democrats MIAMI -- Tied to an unpopular president and his signature health care law, Democrats in the nation's largest swing state see medical marijuana as a potential antidote to political malaise in this year's midterm elections. Party operatives are pushing

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Social Security debts get reprieved WASHINGTON -- People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve -- for now. The Social Security Administration had been participating in a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments tha

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • US anti-Semitic attacks down before Kansas deaths

    A group monitoring anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. cautiously noted a sharp decline in such incidents less than two weeks before the fatal shootings over the weekend outside two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

AP Video
Facebook