This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Ahead Of The Bell: US Unemployment Benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits stayed near a four-year low in December, one of several signs of stability in the slowly improving job market.

While the data has been affected more recently by seasonal factors, the broader downward trend likely continued at the start of 2013.

Economists forecast that applications dropped 7,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, according to a survey by FactSet. The Labor Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday.

Last week, the department said that many state unemployment offices were closed for the New Year's holiday and did not submit complete data. As a result, the department relied on estimates for nine states. Two weeks ago, the department said it used estimates for 19 states because of Christmas closings.

In a typical week, the government estimates only one or two states. As a result, on Thursday the government could substantially revise the data from two weeks ago.

Still, the trend seems to be improving. The department said last week that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile number, was basically unchanged at 360,000, just above a four-year low reached the previous week. That's a good sign that companies are cutting fewer jobs and the job market is improving. Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs.

Employers added 155,000 jobs in December, the department said last week, while the unemployment rate remained 7.8 percent. The gain in hiring nearly matched the average of 153,000 jobs per month in 2011 and 2012. That's just been enough to slowly push down the unemployment rate, which fell 0.7 percentage points in 2012.

December's steady job gain suggests employers didn't cut back on hiring in the midst of the debate over the tax and spending changes known as the fiscal cliff. Many economists feared that the prospect of higher taxes and steep cuts in federal spending would cause a slowdown in job gains.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,090.11 +1.24 0.06%
NASDAQ 5,127.5250 +11.3820 0.22%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs