Jobless claims still high in US after recession

 
Ben Southwood
Follow Ben
NEW US jobless claims fell slightly in the final week of January, according to data out yesterday.

New unemployment insurance applications were 366,000 in the week ending 2 February, according to the seasonally-adjusted measure, the Department of Labor said, down 5,000 on a week earlier.

But the level remained within touching distance with the number of claims made in the same week a year ago – 371,000 – suggesting the labour market still hasn’t made a full recovery almost five years after the depths of the recession.

And total insured unemployment data out yesterday, for the week ending 26 January, showed a yet less encouraging picture, with the balance edging up 8,000 to 3,224,000. However, this figure – also seasonally adjusted – was some 295,000 lower than the during the equivalent period last year.

This came as separate figures out yesterday revealed the fourth quarter saw the biggest productivity crash amongst non-farm workers for two years.

Productivity slumped at a two per cent annualised rate, well above forecasts of around 1.3 per cent, the Department of Labor said.