Unemployment Claims Have Dropped To Lowest Level In Four Years

Americans, you are just going out there and getting it done and it’s showing — the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has fallen to a four-year low, to 357,000 for last week. High fives, all around, everybody!

The Labor Department numbers, via the Associated Press, could indicate that employers are keeping up their end of the equation and hiring more people. Last week’s low of weekly applications was a drop by 6,000, and is the fewest amount of benefits seekers since April 2008. The four-week average also fell to a four-year-low, at 361,750. That’s an almost 13% drop in the last six months.

Strong hiring efforts are usually behind any drop in unemployment benefits applications below 375,000 on a consistent basis. This is good news for tomorrow’s report on job growth in March, along with numbers like an average of 245,000 jobs added by employers per month from December through February, and an unemployment rate dip from 9.1% in august to 8.3% in February.

So it’s a lot of numbers, and the gist is all good, even as the unemployment rate held steady for the second straight month. Experts think we’re on the up and up, and we’re inclined to trust them.

“We believe that the economy has entered a more self-sustaining phase of the recovery with stronger job creation,” said John Ryding, an analyst at RDQ Economics, in a note to clients.

Consumers are spending more, boosting retailers and spurring job growth. So we’ll say what we always do — get out there and buy some stuff, if you can, and do your part.

Unemployment claims hit 4-year low of 357,000 [Associated Press]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    How many stories about unemployment claims have we heard in the last year or so?

    “No really! Things are getting better! TRUST US!”

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:


      “The economy is better! Now go buy a 3D tv!”

    • Fumanchu says:

      Front page:There were 300,000 Jobs created in Randommonthuary….
      2 months later 9th page: Randommonthuary’s job growth has been corrected/adjusted to show only 100,000 jobs were created.

      ^this has been going on for the last 3 years.

      • elangomatt says:

        Do you even know what you are talking about? Every time I’ve seen the monthly jobs created reports for the last 6 months anyway, they give the previous month’s number and adjust the month before that UPWARD by thousands since there were more jobs created the previous month than what was reported originally.

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …how much of that number is accounted for simply by the vast numbers of people for whom UE benefits have run out, and now they just have nothing?

    The issue that doesn’t get looked at enough is those people who have been unemployed for too long to even get benefits, and also people (often the same, not always) who have just accepted the fact that their unemployment is permanent and have given up – just living off of family or friends, maybe doing odd jobs here and there.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s gets looked at plenty – it’s brought up literally every single time Consumerist posts an article about unemplyment.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        And yet the commentary for the articles still have gems like this:

        So it’s a lot of numbers, and the gist is all good, even as the unemployment rate held steady for the second straight month. Experts think we’re on the up and up, and we’re inclined to trust them.

    • adamstew says:

      The number being reported, which is the number of NEW unemployment applications being filed…or, the number of people who have JUST lost their jobs, is not impacted in any way by the number of people who have had their existing unemployment benefits run out.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This is all Obama’s fault.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Clearly all the Democrats need to be voted out of office so we don’t have more of that! The Constitution even says so! (“REPUBLICAN form of government”)


    • Fumanchu says:

      no no, you can’t say everything is bushes fault for 3 years and then all the sudden its obamas. Its clearly Nixons fault.

  4. Bent Rooney says:

    The numbers are bogus. They have had this headline for the past four weeks, only to later revise the numbers back up. But that revision doesn’t make the news in any meaningful way.

    From ZH: All of this would be great… if only the March 15th original number of 351,000 wasn’t lower than the April 5th pre-revision number of 357,000, and which next week will be revised to 361,000!

    • mramos says:

      You seems to not understand the difference between the weekly rate and the 4 week average.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        I don’t fault conservatives and libertarians for being incapable of doing math. Or reading.

  5. Ben says:

    The Republicans’ war on women is working!

    • tbax929 says:

      I can’t for the life of me figure out why that party decided a war on women was a good idea. Why would you want to alienate at least half of the voting pool? I see at least half because there are plenty of men who are sympathetic to women’s issues.

      I don’t want to get into a whole politial debate, but that just seems like such a horrible strategy to me. What are they thinking?

      • Ben says:

        Obama realized there was a weakness in their “do the opposite Obama does” strategy.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          What’s the opposite of “inept”?

          • JohnDeere says:


          • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:


          • tbax929 says:

            I don’t know what the opposite of inept is, but the Republicans seem to be the definition of inept lately.

            It’s sad because I am more of a blue dog Democrat and have some strong conservative ideals about some issues, but the party seems to have gone so far off the rails that I don’t even recognize it. My parents are both Republicans and are equally baffled by what’s going on with the party.

            I think they want to get Americans to focus on issues that don’t personally affect them (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) instead of focusing on the economy or a platform on which they could actually win. I guess that’s why I’m not some brilliant political talking head or a politician, for that matter. I just don’t get it.

            • TheMansfieldMauler says:

              I’m not going to disagree with you. In the current climate, the Republicans should be able to make up a ticket of any random 2 of the 3 Stooges and win the Nov. election handily. But their focus is definitely off and their strategy seems to be alienating to the all-important political moderates – which the DNC is very good at courting. I myself am turned off to some extent because I abhor any mixture of religion in politics, and the current GOP seems to be run by theocrats. Not that it will change my vote in November as I’m not a moderate, but it definitely dampens my enthusiasm.

            • Kuri says:

              To your face they try to make it look like they care by going after easy targets so they don’t actually have to do any work, while behind their backs they order another billions dollars worth of military gear.

          • Blueskylaw says:


            able, adroit, competent, dexterous, fit, skilled, skillful

          • Marlin says:

            Batshit Crazy?

      • longfeltwant says:

        Well, to be fair, although they lose a lot of women, they gain some women, who are self-haters. Also, self-hating minorities and self-hating poor.

      • kobresia says:

        They’re thinking that good Republican women are home in the kitchen where they belong, and don’t worry their purdy little heads with politics because they let their husbands tell them how to vote.

        • iesika says:

          That’s exactly how my Republican parents work, so I’m going to have to agree with what would otherwise sound like a parody.

  6. Hoss says:


  7. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I’m reminded of Penn & Teller’s Bulshit; specifically the episode about Statistics, which, if interpreted the right way, can be made to say just about anything the interpreter wants.

    I think I understand what Mark Twain meant about “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” :u

  8. longfeltwant says:

    The unemployment rate for people in my line of work, in my region, is under 2%. I’m a computer programmer in Wisconsin. This leads me to believe that a majority of the problem is in a mismatch between worker skill and employer need, rather than an overall lack of jobs.

    • LionMan says:

      From what I’ve seen, the only things available are part-time, minimum wage, no benefits, no chance for advancement positions. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s no shortage. But if you want to get paid over $10/hr though, there’s not much out there.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Here here. And with prices on everything rising but wages not doing so, people can’t even afford to take the low-wage position.

        I almost applied for a job recently I had experience for, etc, until I saw that it only paid $7.60 an hour. Really? It was on the other side of town. By the time I paid for the twice-daily 20-30 minute commute, unemployment is higher. I passed on that one.

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    “Unemployment Claims Have Dropped To Lowest Level In Four Years”

    And i’m reading this article because i’m gainfully employed?

  10. Coffee says:

    I always wonder how much of this is a byproduct of many people running out of benefits because they’ve been unemployed too long.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’ve wondered that as well. There has always been somekind of underground economy. The thing that’s different than in the past I think there are many more Americans who had mainstream above board jobs are now in that underground economy with under the table cash.

      I think the staticians are waiting for something that might not happen again including the employment levels of the internet and housing booms. Even those economies were pretty pumped so the actual realistic potential employment numbers aren’t known yet.

    • c_c says:

      These statistics are for initial unemployment claims, so people already on benefits don’t impact the numbers.

      Now people dropping out of the job hunt can impact the overall unemployment percentage, making it lower than they actually are. But a reduction in new unemployment claims is definitely a good trend.

      • Coffee says:

        Thanks…I realized that when I read Zero’s post below mine…wasn’t terribly clear in the article.

      • silenuswise says:

        It *could* represent a good trend, but that’s not the only possible interpretation. The total working age population is a finite number, and the pool of people who can make initial unemployment claims is continuously diminishing. In other words, it may simply be the case that the majority of the unemployed have already made initial claims, and therefore the pool of people who can make initial claims is obviously smaller.

  11. Zero says:

    Correction! This should be FIRST TIME Unemployment Claims. The article’s info is a bit misleading.

    • ronbo97 says:

      Yes. FIRST TIME Unemployment Benefits !!! Here are the actual numbers from the article:

      The number of people receiving benefits fell to 7.1 million in the week ended March 17, the latest data available. That’s about 100,000 fewer than the previous week. The figure includes about 3.3 million people receiving extended benefits under federal programs put in place during the recession.

  12. Green Beer Day says:

    Don’t believe the hype.

  13. Fishnoise says:

    I’ve been back to work for five months now (yay!) in a somewhat better job in my field after being unemployed for 14 months.

    Your results may differ.

  14. MeowMaximus says:

    Jobless claims are down because so many people have given up. The real unemployment rate is 20% & rising. Also, its damn near impossible to look for work when you are homeless.

    • c_c says:

      Uh no, not at all. These are initial jobless claims. So if you were already on unemployment and have ‘given up’, that doesn’t impact this number at all.

  15. ldillon says:

    Notice how they never say how many maxed out their benefits and can no longer file?

  16. TheGreySpectre says:

    Nobody ever said the situation was good, they just said it was slightly less bad. A lot of commenters are treating it like the economy should not be back at 1998 levels and it doesn’t work that way. Even a small positive change is better then continuing a negative trend.

  17. z23 says:

    Even better…pay off your bills before “doing your part”. Don’t worry, the economy will survive without your frivilous purchases…

  18. dirtrat says:

    Its this low because so many peoples benefits have ran out, not because unemployeement went down!

  19. mramos says:

    If you want to know why so many people are unemployed just read the comments. It’s hard to get a job when you clearly lack any critical thinking skills. It’s pretty easy to ascertain from the title alone that this doesn’t include people who’s benefits have run out and blatantly obvious that it doesn’t include people who have given up looking for jobs.

  20. sahovaman says:

    There are probably fewer claims because the same unemployed people have exhausted their claim and are ineligable to recieve new benefits.

  21. Froggee285 says:

    I know two people whose unemployment benifits ran out and they still cant find a job. Oh yes, they can technically work at a fast food place, and make 8 dollars an hour, but their morgage is 2000 or so a month plus bills…whats the point? And to top it off, certain places will not hire you if you are overqualified, because they believe that once the job market gets better (yea right, when will that be) you will quit, leaving them high and dry.

    I am a college educated 27 year old unable to find full time work, so I work two part time jobs to stay afloat, and I tried to get a third job for the holidays at a department store, but they said no, because I wouldn’t be a good fit. Yes, I know, I can speak English, I am personable, I know how to make change without the register telling me, and my fingernails are trimmed and painted light pink. I would be a horrible fit.

  22. MrTreoZ says:

    People are getting jobs so they can buy guns & ammo before our dictator does an end-around on Congress and the American people to make them impossible to buy!