Instant View: Weekly jobless claims fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits slipped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, in the latest week, the Labor Department said.

The prior week’s figure was revised up to 392,000 from the previously reported 388,000.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims — a better measure of underlying trends – fell 5,750 to 389,500.

Claims have now held beneath the 400,000 level that is generally associated with steady job growth for four weeks in a row, with the four-week average below that mark for the sixth straight week.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 9,000 to 3.72 million in the week ended March 26, the lowest level since October 2008.

ANALYSTS COMMENTS:

MICHAEL FARR, PRESIDENT OF FARR, MILLER & WASHINGTON IN WASHINGTON, D.C.:

“This is a good number. We’re seeing a positive trend, though there’s a question of sustainability. But for now, this is kind of a gift horse and we shouldn’t look it in the mouth. But we’ll have to see whether the strength in employment has staying power or now when QE2 ends, when the government cuts spending and as other countries raise rates.”

DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, IFR, THOMSON REUTERS

“The latest weekly initial claims report suggests the underlying downtrend persists, giving no evidence that the labor market recovery has been derailed by higher gasoline prices or other risk factors such as Japan or fears of a government shutdown.

Instant View: Weekly jobless claims fall