Companies are still hiring and layoffs remain low even though the U.S. economy has slowed. The numbers: Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell in the first week of October and clung near a 50-year low, suggesting that layoffs still haven’t risen much even as hiring and the economy have slowed. Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, declined by 10,000 to 210,000 in the seven days ended Oct. 5, the government said Thursday.
Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 220,000. What happened: Raw or actual claims — before seasonal adjustments — rose in a handful of large states including Texas and New York, but were either flat or lower most every where else. Claims remained elevated in Ohio and Michigan, two states with large auto industries. Some 250,000 workers have been on strike for nearly a month and the prolonged standoff has forced parts suppliers to idle workers as well. Once workers return to work and get back pay, they have to return any government benefits they received to tid
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