Initial Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest in Almost Three Months

Initial jobless claims fell to the lowest in almost three months, surprising analysts.

Jobless claims dropped 11,000 to 445,000 in the week ending Oct 2, the Department of Labor said. The revised figure for the previous week was 456,000.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast claims rising to 455,000 from a previously reported figure of 453,000.

Even with the drop in jobless claims, the figures show that employers are slow to take on new staff in the face of a weak economy.

"A proper rise in payrolls cannot happen as long as small businesses, which employ half the workforce, are credit- constrained," Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics told Bloomberg News, before the report. "The pressure on them is starting to ease but it will be a long road and in the meantime private employment is going to struggle."

The four-week moving average of jobless claims, a clearer measure of unemployment trends, fell 3,000 to 455,750, the Department of Labor said. The revised average for the previous week was 458,750.