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Front Page » April 4, 2002 » Local News » Claims for unemployment insurance benefits continue to cl...
Published 4,936 days ago

Claims for unemployment insurance benefits continue to climb across Utah, United States

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Ending March 23, the four-week average of unemployment insurance initial claims filed across Utah registered at 2,154.

The figure represents a 37 percent jump from the 1,569 average reported last year, points out the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

In addition, data compiled by workforce services indicate that the number of unemployment compensation weeks claimed by residents throughout the state registered at 25,401.

The statewide 2002 unemployment compensation total constitutes a 59 percent increase from the 15,937 weeks claimed by Utahns during the designated period in 2001.

Addressing the status of stock market activity, the workforce services statistics indicate that the Tribune/Bloomberg Index is up 1 percent for the year, while the Dow Jones average is ahead 3.8 percent.

Still, Utah's best stocks during the quarter outpaced the Dow's strongest individual performers. The Tribune/Bloomberg Index measures the performance of Utah's 45 largest publicly traded companies.

At the national level, the United States economy bounced back in the final three months of last year. The U.S. economy managed to growing at an annual rate of 1.7 percent after falling into a recession in early 2001.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, number of initial jobless claims filed by American workers climbed by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 394,000 for the week ending March 23. The figure rose to its highest level since mid-January when initial claims reached 395,000.

However, the latest nationwide numbers still remained below the key 400,000 level economic analysts consider recessionary, points out the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The latest reading on the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the national economy's health, shows the expansion registered at a faster pace than the government previously estimated, reports the U.S. Commerce Department. The upward revision reflects an improved trade picture in fourth quarter 2001.

Orders to U.S. factories for large-ticket goods rose 1.5 percent in February, the third straight monthly increase, lifted by stronger demand for airplanes, communications equipment and household appliances.

Projected to last for at least three years, the advance in orders for costly manufactured items came after 0.9 percent and 1.3 percent increases in December 2001 and January 2002 respectively, explains the U.S. Commerce Department.

Nationally, new home sales rose 5.3 percent in February, with buyers motivated by low mortgage rates and mild weather. The solid expansion pushed up sales of single-family dwellings to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 875,000, adds the U.S. Commerce Department.

Sales of previously-owned homes dipped in February, but still racked up the second highest monthly level on record across the nation.

After hitting a record high in January, the edged down 2.8 percent last month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million, reports the National Association of Realtors.

The confidence of American consumers surged in March as optimism grew about the job market in a recovering national economy, continues the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The Conference Board's gauge of sentiment rose to 110.2 for the month from 95 in February, the highest index reported since August.

Increased demand for gasoline and lower supplies resulted in surging prices at the pumps throughout the U.S., adds workforce services

Last Friday's weighted price per gallon for all grades of gasoline and taxes registered at nearly $1.38, up 14.36 cents from related costs posted on March 8, according to the Lundberg Survey. The survey polled 8,000 stations at various locations across the U.S.

The price jump at the nation's gas pumps was the largest two-week cents per gallon hike since the survey started 50 years ago.

The next largest jump was the increase of 12.69 cents posted in April 2001.

More than three-quarters of the members of a panel surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe it is unlikely the United States will suffer a "double dip" recession.

In a double dip recession, economic growth would resume in the United States, only to falter later.

All regions throughout the nation should recover from recession by summer, predicts an index of leading economic indicators.

Measuring the likelihood of economies entering a recession within six months, the January 2002 index marked a sharp reversal from September 2001 - the apparent peak for the recession.

Nationally, the chance of recession six months hence shrank to 12 percent in January from 55 percent in September

Spending by American consumers increased 0.6 percent last month after climbing 0.5 percent in January, reports the U.S. Commerce Department.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.

At the same time, Americans' incomes increased by 0.6 percent, representing the largest expansion since October 2000.

Income includes wages, interest and government benefits, concludes the Utah Department of Workforce Services' latest Trendlines report.

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