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unemployment benefits for April 20, 2013
Compared with the first four months of 2012, first-time claims for unemployment benefits have dropped from an average of 373,000 a week to 353,000 this year. If the past were any guide, that drop would indicate a fairly rapidly healing job market. But that hasn't been the case. Nonetheless, the drop announced today was well below what was expected and ended the extra volatility seen around Easter and spring break.

For the week ending April 20, according to the Department of Labor, seasonally adjusted initial claims fell to 339,000, down 16,000 from the previous week's revision to 355,000. It was the second lowest showing since January 2008. For the comparable week in 2012, first-time claims were 381,000.

Most analysts prefer the four-week moving average because it flattens volatility in the weekly numbers. The average fell to 357,500, a decrease of 4,500.

The drop in claims indicates that the expected loss of jobs from the sequester of tens of billions of dollars in federal spending has not yet happened.

For the week ending April 6, the total ongoing claims filed in all programs, both state and federally funded, fell 81,605 to 5,071,050. For the comparable week of 2012, 6,683,265 persons claimed benefits in all programs.

That decrease comes from a combination of out-of-work people getting jobs, exhausting their benefits or leaving the labor force.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Economics.

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