WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a third straight week last week, but still remain too volatile to offer a clear signal on labor market conditions.
Initial jobless claims dropped 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported.
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In preparation for the 2012 holidays, the toy retailer revealed a new layaway program designed to help more consumers afford its products, while kickstarting the holiday shopping season.
Employee Review: "Pretty solid paid time-off and vacation packages, reasonably priced medical/dental insurance. Opportunities to advance within the company."*
UPS is hiring thousands to help with the upcoming holiday rush of package delivery. While the jobs are seasonal, there is potential to stay on as a full-time delivery driver.
Employee Review: "Great benefits like tuition reimbursement even for part time. Easy work (after first week or so). People are friendly. Flexible schedules. Can quickly move up within the company if desired."*
UnitedHealth Group currently provides health insurance services to more than 75 million people worldwide. It recently announced the addition of 1,500 jobs at an operations center in Texas.
Employee Review: "I really enjoyed my time at UnitedHealth Group. The trainers were very knowledgeable and were always there to answer any questions that I had. I worked as a claims associate for just a few short months before being promoted to another department. I then went on to work from home! Only left this company because of personal issues not related to my job. Great place to work!"*
If you have a degree in computer science or engineering, SAIC might be the company for you. Headquartered in McLean, Va., SAIC is one of the top 15 companies hiring computer science majors, according to Indeed.com.
Employee Review: "Very proactive organization, that looks after its employees. They make available a large amount of resources, so that you can learn how to conduct business their way."*
Pharmacy students and retail workers alike will find jobs of interest posted by Rite Aid. The company is looking for full- and part-time pharmacy technicians, loss prevention agents, analysts and management in preparation for the holidays.
Employee Review: "Opportunity for growth. Excellent training. Flexible hours. Pharmacy is an environment where you are constantly increasing your knowledge of medications."*
Operating more than 3,000 stores in the United States, Rent-A-Center recently expanded in New York, following other store openings throughout the year.
Employee Review: "Always something new every day, never a dull moment. Small stores, opportunities to develop strong relationships with customers. Virtually no scripts to follow, no "dumbing-down"... employees are encouraged and empowered to answer challenges and solve problems"*
Sears, much like Toys R Us and other retailers, is preparing for the holidays. The venerable retail company has been revamping product lines in an effort to better connect with customers.
Employee Review: "My favorite thing about working with Sears is the stability. The company has been around for over 100 years and is one of the largest in the world. It has great benefits and work-life balance is excellent. I don't have to worry about being on-call on nights and weekends. They have really great quality people who are easy to get along with."*
The company has announced the addition of 1,250 new jobs in Michigan. These jobs will support the production of the Pentastar V6 and Tigershark four-cylinder engines. Another 1,000 jobs will be added at the Warren Truck assembly plant, which builds the 2013 Ram 1500.
Employee Review: "The company is extremely adaptable and resilient after its financial distress in recent years, and the company is very hopeful for the future. The need for young and creative people is overwhelming -- those without automotive background may be better positioned than they think!"*
Last week's drop brought them back to their pre-superstorm Sandy's 360,000-370,000 range. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 380,0000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,250 to 408,000, reflecting the impact of the late October storm. That was the highest level since October last year.
A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state-level data, but noted claims tend to post their largest percentage increase in the last week of November, catching up from the Thanksgiving holiday.
In addition, seasonal layoffs in sectors like construction, start picking up this time of the year and remain elevated until early January. This will make claims a less useful gauge of labor market conditions in the weeks ahead.
The claims report has no bearing on Friday's employment data. Economists estimate the monster storm, which slammed the densely populated East Coast, could subtract between 25,000 and 75,000 jobs from November's nonfarm payrolls.
The closely watch employment report, which will be released on Friday, is expected to show payrolls increased only 93,000 last month after advancing 171,000 job in October, according to Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 7.9 percent.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid dropped 100,000 to 3.21 million in the week ended Nov. 24.