mostlycloudy
Thursday February 11th, 2016 4:00AM

Applications for US jobless aid up 16K to 326,000

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. Despite the increase, the number remains close to pre-recession levels and points to stable hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, inched up 250 to 319,500.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have fallen back to roughly pre-recession levels, an indication that companies are letting go of fewer workers and expect solid economic growth in the months ahead.

The low level of applications for benefits has boosted optimism about how many jobs employers added in March. Weekly claims for unemployment aid have reached a level that is typically consistent with monthly job gains of more than 200,000.

The Labor Department releases its March employment report Friday. Economists project that employers added 191,000 workers last month, according to a survey by FactSet.

That would be an improvement from February, when employers added 175,000 positions. And hiring in February accelerated after winter weather slowed job growth in the previous two months. Snowstorms and freezing temperatures in January and December shut down factories, kept shoppers away from stores and reduced home buying. That cut into growth and hiring. Employers added 129,000 jobs in January and only 84,000 in December.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent last month. But the tenth of a percentage point increase happened, in part, for a positive reason: More people entered the job market to look for work. Employers didn't immediately hire most of them, causing the unemployment rate to increase. But the fact that they started job hunting suggests that Americans are growing more optimistic.

More jobs and higher incomes will be needed to spur better overall economic growth. For now, economists estimate that the bad weather contributed to weak growth of 1.5 percent to 2 percent at an annual rate in the January-March quarter. But as the weather improves, most analysts expect growth to rebound to near 3 percent.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year 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 ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Republican presidential contenders descend on South Carolina
Hoping for survival in the South, a muddled field of Republican presidential contenders descended Wednesday on South Carolina, no closer to clarity about who can stand between Donald Trump and their party's nomination.
By The Associated Press
9:14PM ( 6 hours ago )
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 9 hours ago )
Fiorina ends 2016 Republican bid for president
Former technology executive Carly Fiorina exited the 2016 Republican presidential race Wednesday, after winning praise for her debate prowess but struggling to build a winning coalition in a crowded GOP field.
3:32PM ( 12 hours ago )
Man faces 30 counts of animal cruelty in Forsyth County
A Forsyth County man faces multiple animal cruelty charges after authorities removed several dogs from a residence in the western part of the county earlier this month.
10:50AM ( 17 hours ago )
UPDATE: Mother, 2 daughters killed in Gwinnett County house fire
Authorities said a mother and her two young daughters have died in a house fire in Tucker.
By Associated Press
9:00AM ( 19 hours ago )