Wednesday October 7th, 2015 3:35PM

Applications for jobless benefits drop; US productivity slows in 4Q

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level in three months as layoffs remain at pre-recession levels. Meanwhile, another report out of Washington shows that U.S. productivity slowed in the fourth quarter.

The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 336,500.

That average indicates that companies are cutting few jobs and anticipate steady economic growth despite the winter slowdown. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs.

Economists are watching these numbers ahead of the February jobs report being released Friday. Cold weather and snowstorms appear to have limited hiring in January and December.

A total of 3.4 million Americans received benefits as of Feb. 15 - the latest period for which figures are available - down from 3.49 million the previous week.


U.S. productivity grew at an even slower annual rate than previously thought in the final three months of last year.

Economists are hoping productivity growth will revive in 2014, reflecting a stronger economy.

The Labor Department says productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the October-December quarter, a slowdown from 3.5 percent productivity growth in the third quarter.

The new estimate was lower than the 3.2 percent gain the government had previously reported. Unit labor costs dipped 0.1 percent, a smaller drop than the 1.6 percent drop previously estimated.

For the year, productivity increased a tiny 0.5 percent, continuing a weak trend seen over the past three years. Analysts are forecasting a rebound in productivity this year, helped by stronger economic growth.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 9 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 9 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 9 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 9 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 9 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 9 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 9 months ago )
Local/State News
Clinton racks up elected Dems in Georgia
Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton is gathering support from a long list of prominent Georgia Democrats.
By Associated Press
2:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
HEMC members have power restored, may experience blinks
Some Habersham Electric Membership Corp. members may experience brief power outages today.
1:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Jackson Co. native, UNG grad named Kentucky Commissioner of Education
A Jackson County native and graduate of the University of North Georgia is the new Kentucky Commissioner of Education.
By AccessWDUN staff
11:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
Senate to vote on massive defense bill that Obama has threatened to veto
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to vote Wednesday on a $612 billion defense policy bill that President Barack Obama says he'll veto over a larger dispute about government spending.Obama doesn't...
10:57AM ( 4 hours ago )
Man airlifted after overnight house fire near Cleveland
State investigators are probing an overnight house fire that left one man seriously burned west of Cleveland.
9:11AM ( 6 hours ago )