Nationwide news unemployment claims fall to lowest level since April 2008

Posted on December 22, 2011

Initial unemployment claims nationwide declined again last week, slipping 4,000 to 364,000 compared to 368,000 the previous week, according to this morning’s report from the Department of Labor This was the lowest level since April 2008.

The four-week moving average, considered the more reliable predictor of employment trends, was 380,250, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 388,250.

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 418,466 in the week ending Dec. 17, a decrease of 17,256 from the previous week. There were 495,548 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Michigan’s unemployment claims decreased 2,683 last week compared to the previous week due to fewer layoffs in the manufacturing industry, state officials reported.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs nationwide last week was 7,149,769, a decrease of 299,738 from the previous week.

These lower numbers come as Congress deadlocks over extending emergency unemployment benefits, which are set to expire at the end of the year. According to Department of Labor, about 2.2 million people will lose their unemployment benefits by mid-February and 3.6 million others will lose theirs by the end of March if Congress doesn’t extend the emergency benefits.