U.S. jobless claims fall 23,000 last week

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (BestGrowthStock) – New U.S. claims for
unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week,
government data showed on Thursday, pointing to some
improvement in the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 23,000
to a seasonally adjusted 452,000, the Labor Department said.

Despite the drop, which also saw the unwinding of the
prior week’s administrative related-jump, claims remain perched
above levels usually associated with a strong job market
recovery, making it all but certain the Federal Reserve will
ease monetary policy further next month.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to
455,000 from the previously reported 462,000. The government
revised the prior week’s figure up to 475,000.

Last week’s claims data covered the survey period for the
government’s October non-farm payrolls report. A Labor
Department official said only the Virgin Islands’ claims had
been estimated in the most recent week and noted the prior
week’s claims number had been pushed up by administrative
factors.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce a second
round of asset purchases, also know as quantitative easing, at
its Nov. 2-3 meeting to keep interest rates low in an effort to
combat high unemployment and boost demand.

The labor market has stumbled as the economy’s recovery
from the most painful recession 70 years fizzled, leaving the
jobless rate at an uncomfortably high 9.6 percent.

Last week, the four-week average of new jobless claims,
considered a better measure of underlying labor market trends,
fell 4,250 to 458,000.

Claims for jobless benefits have moved sideways for much of
this year and continue to hold below a nine-month high touched
in mid-August.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an
initial week of aid dropped 9,000 to 4.44 million in the week
ended Oct. 9, the lowest level since the week ending June 26,
from an upwardly revised 4.45 million the prior week.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast so-called
continuing claims edging up to 4.41 million from a previously
reported 4.40 million.

The number of people on emergency benefits increased
152,112 to 4.04 million in the week ended Oct. 2.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. jobless claims fall 23,000 last week