One Million Exhausted Jobless Benefits in Past Year
Roughly 1 million people in the U.S. were unable to find work after exhausting their unemployment benefits over the past year, Labor Department data released Thursday suggest.
Economists said the back-of-the-envelope calculation is yet another sign that the labor market remains weak.
About 8.2 million idled workers were receiving unemployment benefits as of the week ended April 9, the Labor Department said in its weekly jobless claims report. This compares with about 10.5 million individuals at the same time last year, resulting in a decline of roughly 2.3 million people.
The federal government estimates that the economy created 1.3 million jobs during the 12 months ended in March.
“That leaves, roughly speaking, about 1 million people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have very likely not yet found a job,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. in New York.
But Nicholas Tenev of Barclays Capital said a precise figure is hard to calculate. He estimated the labor force has shrunk by 638,000 since March of last year, largely because of a demographic shift as baby boomers retire.
“While we don’t have an estimate of our own of how many people have exhausted all their benefits and are unable to find work, 1 million sounds high to me,” Tenev said.