Initial Jobless Claims Tumble to Lowest Level Since July

jobs, weekly initial jobless claimsAmerica's bedraggled labor market got a boost today with the latest weekly initial jobless claims unexpectedly plunging 21,000 to 434,000 -- their lowest level since July. A Bloomberg survey had expected the report to show a total of 455,000 new claims. Last week's total was revised 3,000 higher to 455,000.

Perhaps even better, the four-week moving average declined 5,500 to 453,250. Economists emphasize this measure because it smooths out anomalies due to holidays, strikes, weather-related layoffs and other temporary factors.

Continuing claims also plummeted, by 122,000 to 4.36 million. Some of that decline reflects Americans whose benefits have been exhausted, but some of it also those who have found work.

Going in the Right Direction

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. A year ago, new claims totaled 528,000, the four-week moving average was 528,750 and continuing claims totaled 5.80 million.

States also reported 3.78 million people claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits for the week ending Oct. 9, the latest week for which data are available, a decrease of 258,102 from the prior week. A year ago, 3.41 million people claimed EUC benefits.

Also, the pattern of states reporting "lower highs" for weekly increases in jobless claims resumed last week, after a one-week pause. Only one state reported a large increase, down from five last week, and even that one was minor: Puerto Rico had an increase of just 1,115 claims.

The highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending Oct. 9, the latest week for which data are available, were in Puerto Rico, 6.9%; Alaska, 4.9%: Oregon, 4.1%; Pennsylvania, 4.1%; Nevada, 4%; and California, 3.9%.

This week's jobless claims represent unqualified good news. Of course, the 21,000 claims drop only one week's data, hence investors shouldn't read too much into it. But if claims decline in the weeks ahead at anywhere near this pace, it would be a sign that layoffs are finally subsiding in a big way. That would be the best news on the labor front in 2010.

Learn about investing from the comfort of your own home.

Portfolio Basics

Take the first steps to building your portfolio.

View Course »

Investment Strategies

Learn the strategies you need to build a winning portfolio

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

421 Comments

Filter by:
jncmcfadden

Where were all of you when Bush inflated the deficit with two wars, tax cuts for the rich, and no bid contracts for Halliburton? Why don't you just say what you mean? You don't want a Black man in the White House, any Black man. If Barak Obama were White, you would be seeing the obstructionist Republicans for what they are. Instead, you allow them to use the President's skin color to blind you to the facts. After they obstructed everything that might have stimulated the economy and put you back to work, you gave them a majority in the house of representatives. Did they make jobs their first priority? NO! All they want to talk about is federal funding for abortion, which is already illegal. They made their first priority kicking your kid between 21 & 26 off your insurance. Their first piece of legislation wanted to kick your kids with pre-existing conditions off your insurance. Their first piece of legislation wanted to let insurance companies kick you off of your insurance, for which you have been paying for years, if you get sick. They don't want to help small businesses, only banks and large corporations. If you own on of those then you can side with them. Don't let them re-fight the Civil War at your expense. They don't care what color you are. They want to reduce you to poverty, and they are doing a good job of it. Please wake up! When they get through with us, there will be no middle class. We need to stand together, White ,Black, Brown, Yellow and Red, before these robber barons destroy us all and America with us. We will resemble Mexico or Guatamala when they are finished with us. Choose weather you want to be a peon or a citizen. Don't try to tell me we can't spend our way out of trouble. There is a precident for it. President Roosevelt did it. If people are just allowed to go back to work and the tax base is working the deficit will take care of itself. Also rich people need to pay their fair share. How many jobs did the first round of Bush tax cuts create.

February 10 2011 at 2:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rpmaniac

The day the Democrats took control was not January 22nd 2009 it was actually January 3rd 2007. That’s the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, the start of the 110th Congress. The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995. For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this: January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress: At the time: The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 The GDP growth for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6% George Bush's and the Republican Congress’ Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION! Remember the day... January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!!! THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP growth and 4.6% Unemployment... to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOS! (BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy). And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac after Barney Frank and Chris Dodd???? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie??? OBAMA and the Democratic Congress So when someone tries to blame Bush... REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!" Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel and they were driving when the economy went into the ditch.

October 29 2010 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
saintpeterii

The latest initial claims for unemployment insurance is not necessarily a good sign, possibly just the opposite. Anyone capable of simple math should realize that as the number of people unemployed increase fewer and fewer people are in the pool eligible for first time claims. These figures are going down due to attrition of the work force and who can see that as a good sign for recovery. Recently unemployment and recovery squared in center ring at Madison Square Garden. See the pictures at http://www.saintpeterii.com free no log-in editorial cartoons

October 29 2010 at 8:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rossavich

joe, 4% is not a plunge, perhaps a slight dip! Sounds like your a used card salesman.

October 29 2010 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mcnorris1174

If you are not counting all that are unemployed both the ones that have used up thier benefits and the ones that have given up there is now way that you can have a correct rating. Maybe it is time that instead of having dem's and rep's and mostly the so called tea party we all need to do this, vote out all of the house and senate and replace them with newer rep's ones that do not have ties with any deep pocket supporters. Then start over. Thank You Goverment For Turning Your Back On All Of Us. I hope in the next few days before Nov.2 that all get thier heads out of thier ass's and see that we need a massive change toward working for the People. Even the crap that you get from the newer ones in this race is pure B-**** and will only help the rich. Bush tax cuts LOL, was to give breaks for rich to make more jobs, nice that it only lined thier pockets and no jobs created.

October 29 2010 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

AOL is such an extreme leftist-Obama propagandist! "Plunging"? "Plummeting"? What a joke. The percentage differences are puny! The U.S. is continuing to lose jobs at over 400,000 JOBS A WEEK! These are new "initial" jobless claims. Unemployment continues to "rocket", "explode", "accelerate", "balloon", "mushroom", and "mestastatize". Meanwhile, millions of unemployed are no longer defined by the government as "unemployed".

October 28 2010 at 10:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
obamacrook

IDIOT OBAMA VOTERS VOTING CONSERVATIVE NOW........F YOU OBAMA AND LIBS

October 28 2010 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
obamacrook

HOPE AND CHANGE....VOTE OUT DEMS.....STROKE OUT OBAMA........

October 28 2010 at 9:16 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
AMc

I wrote much the same eairlier only I'm sure they did not post it because it said too much... It is NOT getting better- Thus the rub i.e. the spin for the Congress, press/media... Things are not getting better after 50 is no longer the american dream but the american scream! Really - I have listened to medaia nd congress with a pit in my stomach each night... The truth would be nice...Again, this comment may not be posted either...but really we are all in trouble if this keeps going down this path...HISTORY - amc!

October 28 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
srcivic98

I find this article to be misleading. I recently had a family member of mine get laid off from the bank. Then also I have several friends getting let go from their jobs and they're telling them they are down sizing and possibily moving their jobs else where. And then you've got people getting let go from all those government jobs nad now those people that have been with seasonal jobs are getting called up once again. The economy isn't getting any better, it's getting worse but no one is really pointing that out in the media because they know if people ever heard the truth that this country wouldn't survive one week.

October 28 2010 at 8:21 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to srcivic98's comment
artteet

My job is looking for give backs and will lay off 500 or so workers...but things are getting better according to Obama and these made up statistics

October 28 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply