The U.S. Labor Department announced that first-time jobless claims decreased by 15,000, to 358,000, during the first week of February. Although week-to-week changes are not necessarily a true indicator of employment, the average of a four-week period can be far more reliable. For that time period, mid-January thru mid-February 2012, the figure for first-time unemployment compensation fell to 366,000, the lowest number since April 2008. One year ago, initial jobless claims averaged 418,000 for the same period.
The Labor Department has also reported an increase in job openings, with employers across industry borders adding some 243,000 new jobs, the most in nine months. Undue celebration should, however, be put on hold since last winter’s employment growth was negated by the summer of 2011’s job melt-down.
These statistics pointing to a stronger labor market surprised many economists and lead to cautious optimism. Michael Strauss, chief economist at Wilford, Connecticut-based Commonfund, stated in a Chicago Tribune article by Don Less, “’We are getting better employment growth and are seeing some signs that we are getting some self-sustaining aspects of economic activity.’”
The Federal Reserve has indicated that it plans to keep U.S. interest rates low for at least three more years; the economy still has a very long way to go to regain the jobs lost during the recent recession. Latest data showed that almost 13 million people were officially unemployed this January. About 7.7 million Americans are receiving state and federal unemployment benefits, a decrease from 9.4 million one year ago.
If you are facing piles of unpaid credit card bills, medical bills and deficiencies on foreclosed mortgages or repossessed cars due to long-term unemployment, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy with a Macey Bankruptcy Law attorney at your side may be the key to your financial freedom. For your free initial consultation, call 800-260-1402 Monday-Saturday and log onto www.maceybankruptcylaw.com for up-to-date information on filing your personal bankruptcy. We have helped hundreds of thousands of clients discharge their debt since 1996.