Weekly Jobless Claims Edge Higher, but Point to Healing Labor Market

Unemployment Benefits
John Amis/AP
By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits edged higher last week but remained at pre-recession levels, a signal of growing strength in the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 308,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The data could provide some of the strongest guidance this week on the health of the U.S. economy as a partial government shutdown delays the release of economic data, including the monthly employment report which was scheduled to be released on Friday.

New jobless claims have been falling for much of this year and for weeks there have been fewer of them than even before the 2007-09 recession began, a signal that the long cycle of elevated layoffs had ended.

However, employers have been more reticent about taking new workers on, and many economists doubt whether the claims data still provides a clear signal on the pace of hiring.

More: Can An Employer Force You To Quit?

The jobless claims data can also be volatile, although a Labor Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in last week's data.

The four-week average of new claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell 3,750 to 305,000, the lowest level since May 2007.

Long-standing jobless claims rose sharply in the week ending Sept. 21, which the department analyst said reflected California catching up on unprocessed claims following an update to its computer processing systems.


Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

Related Stories


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Getting out of debt

Everyone hates debt. Get out of it.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum