Thursday, November 15, 2012
Census: U.S. Poverty Rate Spikes, Nearly 50 Million Americans Affected
As President Barack Obama is set to begin his second term, new statistics on America’s poverty rate indicate that nearly 50 million Americans, more than 16 percent of the population, are struggling to survive.
New figures released by the Census Bureau this week found a spike in poverty numbers last year, going from 49 million in 2010 to 49.7 million last year. The numbers may come as a surprise to Congress, which estimated in September that the poverty rate would drop to 46.2 million. One of the most startling findings showed that almost 20 percent of American children continue to live in poverty. Source
Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy
More Americans than forecast submitted claims for unemployment insurance and factory production declined in the northeastern U.S. after superstorm Sandy struck the region.
Applications for surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in . Indexes of manufacturing in the New York and Philadelphia areas showed contractions this month.
The reports add to evidence of the economic toll taken by Sandy, which killed more than 100 people in the U.S., disrupted rail and subway service, left more than 8 million homes and businesses without power for days and caused insured losses estimated at $20 billion. Many of those who lost their jobs were unable to immediately file claims because of the disruption caused by the storm, swelling the numbers last week.
“People were thrown out of work because of the storm, which is exactly what happened after Katrina,” which struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, said Jeffrey Herzog, a senior economist at Oxford Economics Ltd. in New York, who projected claims would climb to 410,000. “The infrastructure was hit in such a way that it will damage transportation and port links, which will take a long time to come back online.” Source
Inflation Nudges Up
Super storm Sandy drove U.S. weekly jobless claims up to 439,000, while consumer prices rose slightly last month as higher rents and costlier food offset cheaper gas.
Separately, a reading on manufacturing in New York State showed that factory activity slowed in November for a fourth straight month.
Super storm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don't get paid.
The storm has affected the claims data for the past two weeks and may distort reports for another two weeks, the department has said.
The four-week average of applications, a less volatile number, increased to 383,750.
Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29 and disrupted businesses from North Carolina to Maine. The storm also cut power to roughly 8 million homes and businesses. Some are still without power.
Before the storm distorted the figures, weekly applications had fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 since January. At the same time, employers have added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. That's barely enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in October. Source