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First-time claims for jobless benefits down slightly

jobless1.jpg

Unemployed people use computers to search for jobs as well as telephones to seek out unemployment insurance benefits in Las Vegas.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

By Jia Lynn Yang

The number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week and productivity at businesses dropped for the first time in eight quarters, according to government statistics released Thursday, reflecting an economic recovery that continues to stall.

First-time jobless claims fell for the second straight week, down by 6,000 to 472,000, but the figure remains stubbornly high. The number of claims has been hovering just below 500,000 for roughly nine months.

The Labor Department also reported that U.S. productivity dropped 1.8 percent in the second quarter, twice what the government initially estimated. Lower productivity means higher labor costs, potentially putting a dent in corporate profits that have benefited from high productivity.

There was some good news from retailers, however. Stores showed a small burst of activity from the back-to-school shopping season. Sales at Kohl's were up 4.5 percent, Limited Brands rose 10 percent, and Gap sales were unchanged.

In other figures released Thursday morning, orders at U.S. factories rose 0.1 percent, suggesting companies remain hesitant to spend money and invest in equipment. Orders for machinery and computers were down.

The economy remains hampered by high unemployment, which is at 9.5 percent. The government's monthly jobs report comes out Friday. The jobless figure is expected to rise to 9.6 percent.

Officials continue to grapple with how to breathe more life into the economic recovery. Wednesday, departing White House chief economist Christina Romer called on Congress to provide more stimulus through tax cuts and government spending on infrastructure.

By Jia Lynn Yang  |  September 2, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Unemployment  
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Comments

Why isn't this making headlines. It goes to show how hypocritical the media are especially against President Obama.

Two weeks ago it was a different story when it was reported unemployment claims rose. Every station blasted President Obama for the unemployment status and now here is another report and not much being said or credit given to President Obama.
How disgraceful.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't this making headlines. It goes to show how hypocritical the media are especially against President Obama.

Two weeks ago it was a different story when it was reported unemployment claims rose. Every station blasted President Obama for the unemployment status and now here is another report and not much being said or credit given to President Obama.
How disgraceful
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Why isn't this making headlines?? I'm confused - aren't we commenting on a front page article on the Post right now?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Of course they're down. Firms don't have any able bodies left. It's like saying a lake isn't drying up as much when there's no water left in it.

Posted by: JAH3 | September 2, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Un-Employment is Horrendous! - Under-Employement is Growing! - And Slave-Labor Jobs are increasing! -- "Poverty" is at an All-time High America!! -- And CONGRESS does NOTHING!! -- These Elected Crooks have NO Feelings- nor care Nothing about the U.S. Citizenry!!- Especially the Most Hurting of Americans,- the DISABLED & ELDERLY Living in "POVERTY"!! -- There has been absolutely NO STIMULUS for the Most Suffering of American People!!- ""NOTHING""!! -- And Congress keeps $Bailing & Supporting the Derivative-Pusher $BANKster Thugs whom caused the Economic Terrorist Rape of Our' Great Republic!! -- Our Founding Fathers would be SO ASHAMED that the CONGRESS of today is worthless,and Ignores WE-the-People's Plight!!!

Posted by: jward52 | September 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Soon the Adminestration will be measuring the data daily so they can report any single day when the data improves.

Posted by: jdonner2 | September 2, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

obama does not want 472,000 reported. some depressing news is so big you cant ignore it. this, you can - and so the media will.

Posted by: dummypants | September 2, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Please you folks scream the fact that we ONLY LOST 485000 jobs that is fantastic news if you want to remain unemployed!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree we should give President Obama the credit for approximately a half million Americans losing their jobs every week.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The Unemployment rate will not go down until the House of Representitives renegotiate NAFTA and other "Free Trade" agreements, start charging tariffs, and penalize corporations for out-sourcing jobs to exploit workers in foreign countries without safeguards to protect labor and the environment.
NAFTA should be repealed.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

What Obama is doing is certainly terrible but what do you expect a community organizer to know about running a country? Come on, think about it a few minutes. Would you want a doctor's receptionist doing your heart surgery. She may be real pretty, look cool and have a good voice but really?
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All he knows to do is campaign, spend money to buy votes and use the media to keep the sheep in line. Do you think we are getting the kind of bang we should be getting from this big of a buck?
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http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/24/bush-deficit-vs-obama-deficit-in-pictures/
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But our job growth problem started 40 years ago. The housing bubble hid it, but the problem hit critical mass as that was also happening.
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The serious problem is our slowing employer's revenue from American made products. Only increasing revenue will create increasing job growth.
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We the consumer have been on a killing spree since the 70s. We have shunned products made by American employers for stuff made either in lower wage countries or for "status" high price stuff made in Germany, etc.
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Imbeciles' like this "house painter" uh I mean community organizer can not fix this, even if he knew how. The root of America's problems can only be fixed by it's workers, consumers and business leaders.
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We must change our thinking to -- how goes our American employers so go us Americans. Our foreign economic enemies are getting stronger everyday on the billions we are sending them. Do not think they don't know this is war with the prize of "standard of living" for its citizens. They want ours and we are giving it to them.
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America can run spending deficits of 5 trillion and it won't create long term jobs here. We American can each borrow to the hilt to buy more Toyotas, Mercedes and more electronics from SE Asia and that won't improve the job market here. Think. We know who the enemy is to job creation in America. We know it in our hearts and minds.
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America's great job creating machines taught the world now we must go out of our way to save them and therefore ourselves.
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Look up Made in America on the internet. Much is still made here, for now. Buy a set of American made tires for your Toyota or Mercedes, something, anything that creates jobs here. We have met the enemy and it is us.

Posted by: how4546 | September 3, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Great. this solved my problem on the job. I can't wait to read more =D

Posted by: spokane computer repair | September 8, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

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