Jobless claims data and unemployment benefit news review today January 3, 2014:
November’s jobs report showed that the national unemployment rate dipped lower to 7.0 percent. This data was a positive sign that the U.S. economic recovery is moving in the right direction. Recent jobless claims data has been positively skewed as well.
According to the most recent Labor Department report on jobless claims, the number of Americans that filed for jobless benefits fell lower by 2,000 to 339,000 in the week ended December 29, 2013. The drop was more than anticipated and represented another consecutive week during which jobless claims dropped lower. The jobless claims dip in the most recent weekly report dropped applications for unemployment benefits to their lowest level in a month. The number of Americans continuing to receive jobless benefits dipped lower by 98,000 to 2.83 million in the week ended December 21, 2013.
Claims dipped lower, but many Americans are still under financial pressure and in need of unemployment benefits. Last week, approximately 1.3 million people lost emergency unemployment benefits. Officially, the extended benefit program ended for over a million Americans on December 28, 2013. If the federal insurance program isn’t restored, several million more Americans could lose access to benefits in 2014. Congress will soon have to decide if the emergency federal unemployment program will be continued.
Congress is to reconvene on Monday and the process of federal unemployment benefit extension is expected to be a top priority for review. Currently, many expected a three month extension to be signed into law and this would give Congress additional time to find a more long term solution for the long-term unemployed. Many out of work Americans will be monitoring developments in Congress closely as next week unfolds.