Seasonal variations caused dramatic fluctuations this month
Weekly jobless claims dropped 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 368,000, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 366,500. The drop in jobless claims follows dramatic fluctuations in the employment situation report at the beginning of the month. Jobless claims usually increase at the beginning of a quarter, but one unnamed state followed a different pattern, causing the recent fluctuations, a Labor Department official said last week.The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Oct. 13 was 3,254,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the preceding week. The four-week moving average was 3,269,750, a decrease of 6,750 from the prior week. States reported 2,052,957 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Oct. 6, a decrease of 45,836 from the previous week. There were 2,921,937 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Oct. 6 was 4,917,460, a decrease of 84,525 from the previous week. There were 6,679,024 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 13 were in Alaska, California, Florida, Ohio and Washington. The largest decreases were in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.