Chris Kramer, Reporting
According to recent statistics compiled by the Labor Department, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 19,000 last week. This led to a total number of 479,000 jobless claims, representing the highest mark since April.
Sources indicate that the recent rise in unemployment claims is particularly striking in light of the job market’s steadiness through the first half of 2010. According to economist Neil Dutta of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, the July numbers suggest “a labor market under a significant amount of stress.”
Of course, not every economist’s outlook is so dour. Ian Shepherdson, a researcher with High Frequency Economics, said the U.S. unemployment numbers are “disappointing, but not a disaster,” and that fellow economists are “curious rather than disturbed” about the unemployment figures.
Here are a few key statistics from the report to help you decide just how disturbing the unemployment information is:
One possible explanation for the recent unrest in the labor market is that routine summer shutdowns at car plants often skew unemployment figures. However, a Labor Department official claimed the annual carmaker flux had nothing to do with the recent rise in unemployment.
In addition, any new disturbances in the labor force add to an already large number of unemployed Americans. During the peak of the recession two years ago, roughly 8.2 million people lost their jobs. Many of these people have yet to find other employment.The continued frustration of people trying to join the workforce has led to a rise in personal bankruptcy claims.