MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Initial unemployment claims in Minnesota declined by 7.6 percent in August, compare to a year earlier, marking the first drop in initial claims since February.
The drop is a good sign that the pace of layoffs is easing, but there's still a long way to go before the distressed job market begins expanding, said Steve Hine, acting director of labor market research for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Last month, 15,951 new jobless claims were filed with the state, compared with 17,265 in August 2002 and 18,084 in August 2001.
"It may be a sign that the pace of layoffs is easing somewhat, but it's still too high to lead to an expanding labor market," Hine said.
He also noted that the drop in new claims mirrors a similar downward trend in the national numbers, which have fallen off from a peak of around 450,000 a week in mid-May to around 400,000 a week.
Despite the slowdown in national claims, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the nation lost another 93,000 jobs in August.
The Minnesota figures for August show a drop in manufacturing layoffs, with new unemployment claims down 31 percent to 2,822, which was less than half the number of new manufacturing claims two years ago in the midst of the official recession.
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