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U.S. jobless claims hit 8-month high

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2011
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U.S. jobless claims hit 8-month high

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level we’ve seen in eight months — 474,000. That’s hurting expectations for tomorrow’s big monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.

Let’s get reaction now from our regular Thursday guest. Diane Swonk — she’s chief economist with Mesirow Financial and she’s with us live from Chicago. Good morning.

DIANE SWONK: Good morning.

HOBSON: Well, Diane why is this number — the weekly jobless claims number — getting worse?

SWONK: Well some of it is due to transitory factors like the earthquake in Japan disrupting production here in the U.S., the late timing of spring break and Easter — particularly in New York — and some extension in new unemployment insurance benefits extended in the State of Oregon. So there is some transitory factors. But let’s face it, these number have been trending up in well above the 400,000 threshold for several weeks now, which is the wrong direction at this stage in the game.

HOBSON: It is time for us to worry about this economy recovery we’re in?

SWONK: I think the economic recovery is durable, but the bottom line is scene that we’ve seen for the last two years is it’s not enough. It’s not enough to generate enough jobs to bring back those people who lost their jobs during the peak of the recession, and it’s not enough to reemploy, or employ many of the new workers coming out of college today or trying to get summer jobs over the summer. It’s going to be very difficult for young people in particular to get those summer jobs as older workers are replacing them even in places like fast food shops.

HOBSON: Diane Swonk, Chief economist with Mesirow Financial. Thanks so much.

SWONK: Thank you.

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