Society

Number Of Americans Applying For Unemployment Is On The Rise

| by Jordan Smith
Walmart storeWalmart store

Unemployment claims increased over the past month as job cuts rose significantly amid slowing economic growth.

The economy grew by just 0.7 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015 and job cuts were announced in the retail and energy sectors, Reuters reported.

“The future is somewhat darker ... the labor market may be past its peak for this cycle. It looks like the labor market has scaled back its rapid advance last month,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank, told Reuters.

The four-week moving average of claims for jobless support was up 2,000 for the week ending Jan. 30, reaching 284,500.

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Other analysts did not consider the increase in jobless claims to be as serious. They pointed to the lizard which affected the eastern United States in late January, as well as the dismissal of seasonal staff after the holiday period.

A large number of layoff announcements have been made since the beginning of 2016. Employers announced planned cuts of 75,114 jobs in January, up from 23,622 the month before.

Most layoffs have been unveiled in the energy, finance and tech sectors, according to Seeking Alpha. Energy companies have slashed spending as oil prices have plummeted.

The cuts include Walmart’s decision to close 269 stores worldwide, 3,600 layoffs at Macy’s along with the closure of 36 stores, 2,500 redundancies at Sprint, and the shutting of five plants and loss of 650 jobs at Caterpillar, says Seeking Alpha.

The layoffs in the retail industry came after many leading chains performed poorly over the holiday season.

Walmart’s planned layoffs will affect 10,000 employees across the United States.

“The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” a statement from Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don't take this lightly.”

The data on jobless claims will not affect the latest unemployment report, which is scheduled for release Feb. 5. Nationally, official unemployment figures are currently at a seven-and-a-half year low of 5 percent.

Sources: Reuters, Seeking Alpha, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: Wikicommons

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