Is the labor market finding its footing?
The Labor Department reported Thursday that 359,000 filed first time jobless claims in the week ended Sept. 22, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 385,000, and the lowest level in two months. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 374,000, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 378,500. The better-than-forecast report may be an indication that the labor market is finding its footing. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Sept. 15 was 3,271,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the preceding week. The 4-week moving average was 3,295,500, a decrease of 15,000 from the prior week. States reported 2,160,448 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 8, a decrease of 2,084 from the previous week. There were 3,036,635 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Sept. 8 was 5,173,586, a decrease of 11 from the prior week. There were 6,983,307 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week last year. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 15 were in California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan and New York. The largest decreases were in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Puerto Rico.