Labor Department cites seasonal factors for increase
Weekly jobless claims spiked last week after they had fallen to their lowest level in more than four years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. In the week ending Oct. 13, initial claims for unemployment benefits were 388,000, an increase of 46,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 342,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 365,000, an increase of 750 from the previous week. Jobless claims usually increase at the beginning of a quarter, but one unnamed state appears to be following a different pattern, causing the recent fluctuations, a Labor Department official said. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Oct. 6 was 3,252,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the prior week. The four-week moving average was 3,275,500, a decrease of 5,750 from the preceding week. States reported 2,098,793 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 29, a decrease of 7,279 from the prior week. There were 2,967,054 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Sept. 29 was 5,001,985, a decrease of 42,664 from the previous week There were 6,694,493 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week last year. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 6 were in Illinois, Georgia, New York, Oregon, and Texas. The largest decreases were in Alabama, California, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.