The Labor Department said Thursday that fewer Americans than expected filed for initial jobless benefits in the week ended October 27, signaling that employers are deviating little in making staff changes. Filings for first-time unemployment insurance dropped by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000; the lowest figure in three weeks and ahead of economists’ predictions of a decrease to 370,000.
Initial claims from two weeks ago were upwardly revised to 372,000 from an original reading of 369,000.
The Labor Department also stated that figures from the District of Columbia and New Jersey were estimated because of office closures in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It is notable that the pummeling that the superstorm laid on the East Coast could cause some volatility in upcoming claims for unemployment benefits, although the agency said that the storm didn’t have any impact on the latest report.
The four-week moving average for jobless claims, regarded as a better barometer of labor trends because it smoothes-out volatility, dropped 1,500 to a 367,250.
Continuing claims, the number of people already receiving benefits, increased by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.26 million in the week ended October 20. On the whole, roughly 5.04 million people received state or federal unemployment benefits for the week ended October 13. Total claims are always reported with a two-week lag time.
With initial claims now reported, investors will be hawking the unemployment rate data that arrives Friday morning from the Labor Department. This will be the final reading on the state of the jobs market before the Presidential election next Tuesday. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September; its first time below 8 percent since President Obama took office. Analysts are anticipating that 125,000 new jobs were created in October, meaning that the unemployment rate will creep upward to 7.9 percent.
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