jobless claims dropThere was some modest progress on the labor front last week, as the number of new jobless claims filed fell 16,000 to 453,000, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday -- returning to the same level as at the start of the year.

A Bloomberg survey had expected initial jobless claims from the week ending Sept. 25 to total 459,000. The previous week's total was revised up 4,000 to 469,000.

In addition, the four-week moving average of initial claims declined another 6,250 to 458,000. Economists emphasize this more-telling average, as it smooths out anomalies due to holidays, strikes, and weather-related layoffs.

New jobless claims need to drop below 400,000 during the next two quarters to give economists and investors confidence that commercial activity is increasing at a pace that will prompt companies to curtail layoffs and resume hiring.

Continuing claims plunged another 83,000 to 4.46 million -- the lowest level since December 2008.

Significant Progress in Past Year

A year ago, initial jobless claims totaled 546,000, the four-week moving average was at 546,750, and continuing claims totaled 6.01 million.

States also reported 3.97 million people claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits for the week ending Sept. 11, 2010, the latest week for which data is available, a decrease of 256,536 from the prior week. A year ago, there were 3.31 million claiming EUC benefits.

The highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending Sept. 18, the latest week for which data is available, were in Puerto Rico, 6.4%; New Jersey, 4.3%; Oregon, 4.2%; Pennsylvania, 4.2%, California, 4.1%, and Nevada, 4.1%.

The jobless claims report released today represents another qualified "ray of light" for the economy. Although some of the drop in continuing claims reflects benefits that expired, it also represents jobs found. Further, after a rise that was boosted by seasonal, summer layoffs, initial jobless claims are now trending in the right direction -- down -- it's just that they're not trending down that fast. In short, layoffs appear to be subsiding.

The key task for Washington now is to implement policies that will promote job growth -- that is, ones that help convince business executives that the economic recovery will endure -- giving corporate decision makers the confidence to increase production to meet that higher demand.

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I agree that the key task for government is to implement policies that will promote job growth, but it is doubtful that I agree with Mr, Lazzaro on what those policies might be. At this point I tend to favor policies that are aimed at promoting fair international trade - that address the trade deficit with countries that have adopted export based growth economic policies, with import restrictions and domestic production subsidies. Open up the foreign markets and add duties and tariffs on to their goods... A little nationalism / protectionism is called for to get our economy stabilized...

October 01 2010 at 7:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If President Obama had not raised the minium wage as soon as he got into office, we would probably be down to about 8% unemployed now. I wonder why he is still blaming President Bush now. Does he not understand that the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate for the last three (3) years. So that gave the Democrats 2/3rds of the total power. Does he not know that or ism he just not going to tell the truth. Just wondering.

September 30 2010 at 11:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Their screwing us again. My employer is hiring 25-30 new people.I heard two managers talking about their quaterly bonus for labor. They are cutting our hours, from an average of 35-38 to 15-20 because they our getting the tax credit for hiring unemployed persons. I was unemployed for 18 months before taking this job and I understand, but these numbers about UE claims are bull sh**. They are "hiring people but they are choosing to work them because their average hourly rate goes down.

September 30 2010 at 11:37 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

The percentage of lost jobs is higher than it was two years ago. So many have lost there jobs, that there is no one else to fire. One job lost is a devastation. Americans have turned to Greed. The rich are getting richer and the poor are poorer. So much for this administration. Put in office by the poor, and now they are supporting the rich. What a waste. Don't let them fool you. Millions have lost their jobs and still people are losing their jobs. If you had a hundred workers two years ago and laid off 75 of them, there isn't much left to fire; thus, the percentage is hight. Don't be misled.

September 30 2010 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I own a jewelry store, our business is first to get hurt in bad economy and last to come back.. as people don't spend money on jewelry when cash is thight. We are having our second based year in 12 years. I say if GOP doesn't ruin it for all of us, bad times are behind us. We are trying to hire, but we can't find people who are really dedicated and want to work. Unemployment has a lot to do with quality of our work force than economy

September 30 2010 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

At least five different Rep Senate candidates, all running in close races, have said they would support abolishing the Dept of Education. Many of them would also like to "phase out" Social Security and Medicare. one wants to get rid of maternity coverage. These are the people who would hold power if the GOP wins but we ...won't let that happen. By working together and vote this fall, we can keep moving forward

September 30 2010 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mhomi's comment

Communism is not moving forward. That is moving backward. Please vote Republican so we can move forward.

September 30 2010 at 11:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Donna & Tony

If this is true, which I sincerely doubt, it won't be for long. I live over here near Cape Canaveral where the first of thousands will start losing their jobs tomorrow! Because of the end of space shuttle roughly 5000 to 6000 people will be losing there jobs over the next couple of months.The first bunch on Oct 1st (tomorrow)... Thanks again Obama u a**hole!

September 30 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Donna & Tony's comment

Well you wanted less government here you go. Be careful what you wish for. Maybe the private sector that is going to take this over will hire these people. Ok I just woke up.

September 30 2010 at 3:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

no you got it wrong, its not Obama its GOP to blame, they are the ones who got our economy to the point of break, they are the ones who have not allowed for the last 18 months any help to people, they are the ones who made national debt that they doubled during Reagan, doubled again during Bush 1 doubled again during Bush 2 and gave us 1.3 trillion dollars deficit from 230 billion surplus, and said we have to balance the budget, even held unemployment benefits until they are paid for, then want to give the 2% richest with avg income of 8,000,000 a year 3% tax break unfounded custing us 700,000,000,000 we have to borrow from China, and forcing Mr. Obama to have to cut programs like the one you point to. You guys are short sided, and rude. Who calls the President of The United States names? only a holes

September 30 2010 at 5:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

does anyone wonder about the credibility of financial writers? sometimes when the unemployment rate goes up a little, this causes the stock market to go down. today, the unemployment rate goes down, the stock market goes down.

September 30 2010 at 3:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

After the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 President Bush strangely told people to go shopping. Many people took his advice and ran up huge debts but it also (falsely) inflated economic growth before the eventual crash. Now people are a bit wiser. They are saving and therefore the economy is growing slowly which is healthy. Hopefully more jobs will be created soon.

September 30 2010 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Any jobless claims over 350000 is a net loss. This is bad news, just because it not as bad as it could have been does not construe to it being good news. Its like saying the enemy is dropping bombs, but they are 2000 pounds, rather than 2500 pounds.

September 30 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David's comment

Based on that logic; where were you when the jobless claims were in the 2.5 - 3.0 million? I don't remember seeing many negative comments then.

September 30 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply