Job fair applicantsThis week's initial jobless claims report offered news of decent progress on the labor front, as claims fell 11,000 to 445,000, the U.S. Labor Department said. A Bloomberg survey had expected new claims to dip to 450,000. Last week's total was revised upward by 3,000 to a total of 456,000, but the latest number is the lowest since early July.

Another hopeful sign: The four-week moving average declined another 3,000 to 455,750. Economists emphasize this measure because it smooths out anomalies due to holidays, strikes and weather-related layoffs.

Continuing claims fell another 48,000 to 4.46 million -- their lowest level since December 2008. A year ago, initial claims totaled 531,000, the four-week moving average was 540,500 and continuing claims totaled 6.04 million.

All good, but weekly initial 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 prompts most companies to curtail layoffs and resume hiring.

State-Level Claims Continue to Improve

One setback in the most recent jobless report was emergency claims. States reported 4.12 million people claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits for the week ending Sept. 18, the latest week for which data are available, an increase of 157,735 from the prior week. A year ago, 3.36 million people were claiming EUC benefits.

However, state-level claims showed more evidence of declining layoffs, as the pattern of "lower highs" for the states posting weekly increases in jobless claims continued. Only one state reported a large increase: California, whose claims rose 8,960. The remaining states/territories with increases had low numbers, with the top being Florida, up 687; Kentucky, up 415; Puerto Rico, up 302; and Iowa, up 299.

However, several states reported large decreases in jobless claims: New York, down 3,703 ; Illinois, down 2,381; Georgia, down 2,314, and North Carolina, down 2,078.

Online Job Listing Are Broadly Higher

Separately, the Monster (MWW) Employment Index rose two points to 138 in September -- its first rise in three months. The index, which measures employers' intentions to hire, is up 16% -- or 19 points -- compared to a year ago. That's an improvement from the 12% year-over-year rate registered in August.

Monster added that job listings increased in health care, social assistance, professional, scientific and technical services in September from August. It also said all 28 metro areas it tracks showed an increase in jobs posted online on a year-over-year basis.

This week's jobless claims report represents another small ray of light for the economy. As many economists forecast, after a rise boosted by seasonal layoffs, jobless claims are trending in the right direction -- down. It's just that they're still not going down fast enough.

The key task for policymakers now is to implement plans that will promote job growth. Business executives have to believe that the economic recovery will endure -- giving them the confidence to increase production and add jobs to meet that increased demand.

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rcumor

There are alot of people trying to paiont a rosy picture BUT. the fact remain there are alot of unemployed middle class. If the Fed doesn't extend unemployment benifits you will see more homes going to forcloser !!! The cycle will repeat it self until the middle class is restored, or the rich have it all !

October 07 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobbgil

just another joke, a lot more people I know got laid off last couple of months, there are no decent jobs available, Another slap in our face was yesterday when G.E. said they are closing a lite bulb factory and sending the work to CHINA. Another 200 jobs lost.

October 07 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Jetncat

jobless claims? Are those the ones who are losing their 99 weeks of unemployment?

October 07 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bill griffis

what there saying there not many more to get lay off notice all those monster listings are profesional jobs those seasonal jjobs are going to college students 99er's seniors are be left out

October 07 2010 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rgkarasiewicz

All of this is pure heresy. Look for the nation's official unemployment rate to spiral upwards into an unadulterated nightmare that nobody has bargained for.

October 07 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
basscat58

New jobless claims fell 11,000! Wow! People collecting Emerg. Unempl. Comp.(EUC) hits 6.4 million from 3.36 million a year ago! Hope! Hows that Stimulus, ask Obama it creating jobs! The economy and hiring will not recovery until Obama and his clowns are Pink Slipped along with the insane programs they have put place!

October 07 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
georgetroll4

Manufacturing activity and the service sector results both brought a 200-pt rise to the Dow, which is very close to 12,000. The retail results were better than expected and new unemployment claims are below 45,000. There will still be glitches in the recovery, but there is no "double dip" on the horizon. WE should all thank Geitner and Obama from staving off a major depression, even if the economy isn't improving as fast as we all would like.

October 07 2010 at 11:52 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to georgetroll4's comment
stheel4

How many jobs were saved or created by the 500,000,000 in U.S. tax dollars that are being used to build the latest Government Motors plant in Mexico using fuzzy Liberal math? 39,000 jobs lost last month is some how spun as a good thing? Among Obomas cabinet , there are exactly zero members who have ever ran a business or payed a payroll among them. Vote Consurvative in the mid terms America as these Progressive Socialists are killing any chance at a recovering economy.

October 07 2010 at 11:42 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Donna & Tony

Well I'm pretty sure that the 1100 people that were laid off on Friday from Cape Canaveral haven't been accounted for yet. And in a few more months about another 5000 to 6000 more will be laid off again! That should do wonders for unemployment numbers!

October 07 2010 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ajgorm

The jobless recovery is strong powering the markets to new highs as companies trim down.Ohhhh we will see what the Christmas season brings. Deflation still is the silent enemy. More and more people looking for jobs and giving up with no job growth in sight and at the same time the need for bigger government , this spells deflation. Given the fact people will not qualify for welfare or food stamps this spells a new challenge for America.

October 07 2010 at 11:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ajgorm's comment
ajgorm

As long as gold keeps going up we are in bigger trouble everytime it goes higher. The econo-baramo-meter of doom. But when gold and stocks go down at the same time it indicates on the bullshito-meter as extreme BS..

October 07 2010 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply