The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 31, 2013

Jobless claims drop for third straight week as shutdown impact ends

Jobless claims have been volatile this fall

WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims fell for the third straight week as furloughed federal employees returned to work and the effects of the government shutdown abated, the Labor Department said Thursday.

There were 340,000 people who filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, a drop of 10,000 from the previous week. Economists had projected the number would drop to 335,000.

The figure was down significantly from 373,000 claims in the week that ended Oct. 5, the highest level since January. The spike was caused by the furlough of about 800,000 federal workers on Oct. 1 after Congress and the White House failed to agree on a spending bill after the fiscal year ended.

The Pentagon recalled about 400,000 civilian employees the following week, and the rest of the workforce returned on Oct. 17.

Initial jobless claims have declined steadily in recent weeks as fewer federal workers applied for benefits. Just 14,423 federal employees filed claims in the week ending Oct. 19, the latest data available. The figure was down from 44,136 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The four-week average of jobless claims, which smoothes out some of the volatility, remained elevated last week at 356,250, up 8,000 from the previous week.

The claims figures have been unusually volatile this fall because of the government shutdown and computer upgrade problems in California and Nevada in September.

Before that, claims had averaged about 330,000 a week during the late summer, the best performance since the end of the Great Recession and a sign of moderate job growth.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Man accused of abusing 2 girls in 'Maidens Group' MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities were searching Tuesday for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in a "Maidens Group" at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, where he told one victim she would remain a virgin

    April 15, 2014

  • Deputy shot, wounded in Norman County PERLEY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man from Fertile is under arrest for shooting a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in northwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the Norman County deputy was wear

    April 15, 2014

  • Red River Valley touted as drone industry center THIEF RIVER FALLS (AP) — Dozens of representatives from agriculture, aviation and higher education are meeting in northwestern Minnesota to discuss ways to promote the region as a center for development of the aircraft industry which produces unmanne

    April 15, 2014

  • Balancing Act: The secret weapon behind work life balance We all struggle for work life balance, but most of us don’t realize that sometimes the path toward achieving might be something so simple. Some of the most successful people I know are sharing their secret weapon for remaining strong and finding bal

    April 15, 2014

  • Police: Suspected killers wore GPS devices ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock — the rules of parole that are designed to tip off authorities if a freed felon backslides. Yet for at least

    April 15, 2014

  • More US consumers are seeking medical care, report shows A historic slowdown in U.S. health care spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published this week and health care experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting m

    April 15, 2014

  • Man sentenced to 20 years in synthetic drug case FARGO, N.D. (AP) — One of 15 people to plead guilty in a synthetic drug conspiracy that resulted in the overdose deaths of two teenagers has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Casey Rosen (row-ZEEN') pleaded guilty in January 2013 to conspiracy to

    April 14, 2014

  • White House news group honors black reporter it once barred WASHINGTON — Harry S. McAlpin made history in February 1944 when he became the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House. Time magazine and The New York Times noted the milestone. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

    April 14, 2014

  • Worn down by health problems, woman discovers art of living MILWAUKEE — For the second time in her life, Tessa Koller sat in a hospital examination room listening to a doctor deliver bad news. A defect in her coronary artery required surgery. She was 25. Tessa heard the doctor say something about “sudden dea

    April 14, 2014

  • Illinois Lottery app stirs up controversy SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — When Illinois launched its first-in-the-nation lottery app in January, Matthew Ruder quickly signed up so he could jockey for jackpots with just a tap of the finger on his smartphone. “It’s really easy to buy lottery tickets on t

    April 14, 2014