Initial claims for unemployment benefits drop 30,000
Weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level in more than four years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. In the week ending Oct. 6, initial claims for unemployment benefits were 339,000, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 369,000, and the lowest level since February 2008. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 364,000, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week. Analysts cite 375,000 as the benchmark that indicates hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. The better than expected report follows the encouraging September jobs report and the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Sept. 29 was 3,273,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week. The four-week moving average was 3,279,250, a decrease 7,750. States reported 2,106,072 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 22, a decrease of 36,977 from the previous week. There were 3,016,035 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Sept. 22 was 5,044,649, a decrease of 43,970 from the previous week. There were 6,819,938 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week last year. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 29 were in Arkansas, California, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The largest decreases were in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Oregon.