While the unemployment rate stays stubbornly close to 10% and is expected to do so, other job market indicators seem to be looking up.
Initial jobless claims, a measurement of the number of jobless claims filed by individuals seeking to receive state jobless benefits, in the week ending May 8, after adjusted for seasonal factors was 444,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 448,000. As weekly fluctuations can be volatile, 4-week moving average is often used . The 4-week moving average was 450,500, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised average of 459,500.
Events of extended mass layoff and the number of separations (workers who are let go for more than 31 days from their jobs) in the first quarter 2010 declined sharply from the same quarter last year. There were 1,564 mass layoffs and 221,150 separations in the first quarter 2010 compared to 3,979 and 705,141 respectively a year ago.
What is more encouraging is that 42 percent of employers expected to recall at least some laid-off workers,
up from 25 percent a year earlier.
The adverse blow of economic conditions to the job market has also subsided. Among the seven categories of economic reasons for extended mass layoffs, business demand factors accounted for 41 percent of events and 38 percent of related separations during the first quarter of 2010,down from 54 percent of events and 48 percent of separations in the same period a year earlier. Separations related to business demand factors decreased over the year by 250,749, or 75 percent. Within the business demand category, the largest over-the-year decrease in separations was due to slack work/insufficient demand (-205,424).
So, are workers seeing lights at the end of tunnel yet?