Unemployment Claims Hit Five Year Peak

April 12, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Plan sponsors might find it a bit easier to find workers these days, at least according to data released today by the Department of Labor.

The report revealed that initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in five years last week.

There were a higher-than-expected 392,000 workers applying for initial jobless benefits for the week ending April 7, up from the previous week?s 383,000. The last time filings had been that high was the 397,000 reported March 30, 1996. Analysts had only anticipated 381,000 filings.

Much of the rise was attributed to layoffs in the automobile industry.

Moving Target

The 4-week moving average increased by 3,000 to 380,500, an increase of 3,000 from the week before. There were 269,000 initial claims in the comparable week in 2000. Still, the reading was also the highest in five years, when the moving average registered 388,500 claims on April 13, 1996.

Michigan recorded the largest decrease in initial claims, as lay offs in the automobile industry tapered off, while the largest increase was in Indiana, up by 1,1571 due to downsizing in the transportation equipment, electrical equipment, furniture, and rubber and plastics industries.