Initial Jobless Claims Fall 6,000 to 472,000
Businesses are reluctant to add workers as concerns about the strength of the economy grow. High unemployment, combined with weakness in the housing market and high levels of debt, are damping consumer spending, the largest element of the U.S. economy.
Jobless claims "remain elevated and suggest the economy has failed to gather momentum midway through this quarter," Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody's Economy.com told Bloomberg News before the report. "Further improvement in initial claims will be gradual and uneven as business confidence remains low."
The revised figure for the previous week's initial jobless claims was 478,000. The four-week moving average, a clearer measure of unemployment trends, fell 2,500 to 485,500, the Department of Labor said. The revised average for the previous week was 488,000.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast claims rising to 475,000.