Americans Receiving Jobless Benefits Reach Record 4.99 Million
Originally posted on Bloomberg
The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits jumped to 4.99 million two weeks ago, breaking a record for a fourth straight time, signaling the job market is still deteriorating.
Total benefit rolls surged by 170,000 in the week ended Feb. 7, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. First-time applications for unemployment benefits were unchanged at 627,000 last week, higher than economists projected.
General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC this week announced an additional 50,000 workers would be cut from payrolls as crumbling demand for autos deepens a recession now in its second year. President Barack Obama is counting on the $787 billion stimulus plan he signed into law this week to create or save 3.5 million jobs and stem the slump in spending.
“The labor market is under a considerable amount of stress,” Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. “A weakening job market portends a weakening retail market. Spending will continue to subtract from growth this quarter.”
Prices paid to U.S. producers rose in January for the first time in six months as fuel costs climbed, another Labor report showed. The 0.8 percent increase in wholesale costs was higher than forecast and followed a percent 1.9 decline in December. Over the last 12 months, producer prices fell 1 percent, the biggest year-over-year decline since 2006.
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