National jobless claims hold steady

A sign at the Mahle Behr plant in Dayton, facing Webster Street, has for years invited job applicants to inquire within. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

It’s a worrisome sign of a stalled jobs market

Economists had expected claims for first-time unemployment benefits to continue a gradual decline, but new national figures represent a slight disappointment in that case.

New national jobless claims In the week ending Sept. 5 were 884,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The lack of movement shows a slowing recovery.

Last week, claims fell to well below 900,000 new weekly applications for benefits, under new Department of Labor calculations said to be more in line with the unadjusted data. Seasonal adjustments that had been used in recent months were prone to raise the actual number of claims, according to economists.

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The decline has been slow but marked, falling from an adjusted 881,000 initial claims in the week ending Aug. 29 from a peak of some 7 million new claims in March.

Economists this week had expected jobless claims falling slightly to a seasonally adjusted 850,000 for the most recent week ending Sept. 5. Instead, they remained at the revised 884,000 level.

To put that in perspective: Even though the numbers have fallen, they remain stubbornly lodged above the pre-COVID-19 record of 695,000 week after week.

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Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial, believes the claims data shows that job growth will be “slower through the rest of 2020, and that full recovery in the labor market will take years.”

As of the week ending Aug. 29, Montgomery County had 803 first-time claims for unemployment benefits, on top of 16,370 claims continuing from previous weeks.

As of Sept. 5, Montgomery County saw the first-time number rise slightly to 823, with continuing claims falling to 15,727 claims.

For same week, Butler County saw 441 claims continuing, with 9,521 ongoing claims from earlier weeks. In Warren County, those numbers were 205 and 4,595 respectively.

And in Clark County, 151 first-time claims for benefits joined 3,079 ongoing claims.

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