Applications for US jobless aid dip to 3-month low

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 13, 2014 at 9:24 am •  Published: March 13, 2014

The unemployment applications and retail sales suggest that the economy is recovering after severe weather caused auto sales to dip, factory orders to fall and sales of existing homes to plummet.

The unemployment rate ticked up last month to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent, but the increase occurred partly for a good reason: More people started looking for jobs. Most weren't immediately hired, thereby boosting the unemployment rate. But the fact that they started job hunting suggests they were optimistic about their prospects.

The weather did force about 6 million people with full-time jobs to work part-time in February. Many of their paychecks will shrink, likely weighing on spending.

That's one reason economists forecast that growth will slow to an annual rate of 2 percent or less in the first three months of this year, down from a 2.4 percent rate in the final three months of last year. But as the weather improves, most analysts expect growth to rebound to an annual rate near 3 percent.