New jobless claims dip to July level

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Oct. 7, 2010 at 7:38 a.m.

In a good sign for the job market, the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week to their lowest level since July 10.

Initial unemployment claims dropped 11,000, to 445,000, in the week ended Oct. 2, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday. New claims for the previous week, ended Sept. 25, were revised upward slightly to 456,000 from 453,000.

Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted new claims would rise by 2,000.

The four-week moving average, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, fell 3,000, to 455,750 from the prior week’s revised average of 458,750.

Though claims fell last week, the number of people filing for jobless benefits and the unemployment rate remain high amid weak economic growth.

The high jobless rate is curtailing spending — data Monday showed that pending sales of previously owned U.S. homes is stabilizing, but remain well below figures from a year ago.

On Friday the Labor Department will release its monthly jobs report for September. While economists are expecting to see fewer payroll cuts than in August, they still anticipate a decrease of 10,000 U.S. jobs and a slight rise in unemployment.

Data reported on Wednesday from payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. also looked a bit grim. That survey found that private employers unexpectedly cut 39,000 jobs in September.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Monday signaled he would support further bond purchases to boost a weak economy, though Fed officials are split on a possible move to ease financial market conditions. In an interview recently with The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he supports a new Treasury bond purchase program amid major concerns about the high unemployment rate.

In other news in the Thursday claims report, the number of continuing claims — those drawn by workers for more than one week in the week ended Sept. 25 — fell 48,000, to 4,462,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,510,000. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.

The unemployment rate for workers with unemployment insurance for the week ended Sept. 25 was 3.5 percent, a 0.1 point decrease from the prior week’s revised rate of 3.6 percent.

The report’s state-by-state breakdown of new claims for the week ended Sept. 25 shows that the largest decrease in claims took place in New York, which saw a decline of 3,703 claims due to fewer layoffs in the construction and service industries.

California had the largest increase in claims with a rise of 8,960 due to layoffs in the service industry.

A Labor Department economist said Thursday that claims for the Virgin Islands were estimated in this latest report.

See the Labor Department report on jobless claims.

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One comment:

  1. Victoria Ryan-Bailey Oct. 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Please be aware, when speaking about the rate of unemployment, note the rising number of companies who are conducting credit checks on applicants. Countless employers have advised that they will conduct a credit check prior to consideration for a new job. This is totally unfair and there should be a moratorium of this practice until our economy improves. We do not need this barrier to hiring honest, trustworthy Americans for positions, especially when many of these jobs do not require handling any funds whatsoever. Please publicize that this is one of the biggest hurdles out of work Americans must overcome to get re-hired. Perhaps Trans Union Chair and President Obama Advisor Penny Pritzer would be the first to announce an end to the practice to help move hiring along.

    Also, note that age discrimination is alive and well and running rampant right now. Many ccompanies have an unwritten policy “Over 50 Need Not Apply.” We cannot continue to blame President Obama for corporate and business practices that purposely screen workers for social, economic and personal reasons.