First time claims for unemployment benefits drop by 12,000
First-time jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 365,000 in the week ending Sept. 1, the lowest level in a month and a sign perhaps that hiring conditions are improving. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 371,250, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average of 371,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Aug. 25 was 3,322,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the preceding week. The four-week moving average was 3,320,750, a decrease of 3,500 from the prior week. States reported 2,263,614 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Aug. 18, a decrease of 9,703 from the previous week. There were 3,060,622 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Aug. 18 was 5,467,752, a decrease of 63,076 from the previous week. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 25 were in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. The largest decreases were in California, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Another report issued Thursday by ADP Employer Services found that companies added a more-than-forecast 201,000 workers in August, the biggest gain in five months. The government jobs report will be issued Friday.