Jobless Claims Fall 2.9% as Shutdown Effects Subside

Initial jobless claims fell 2.9% to 340,000 for the week ending Oct. 26, according to a Labor Department report released today.

After the numbers fell a revised 3.3% the previous week, this newest report continues the steady decline in new claims after the government shutdown contributed to a massive 21% spike in early October that was also boosted by computer issues. Even so, these latest figures failed to meet analysts' expectations of just 335,000 initial claims. 

Source: Author, data from Labor Department. 

From a longer-term perspective, a 2.3% increase in the four-week moving average to 356,250 initial claims is a reminder that the early October jobless jump isn't gone yet. Both the latest week's claims and the four-week average fall significantly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, 13 states recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ended on Oct. 19 (most recent available data). California led the improvements with a decrease of 13,030 initial claims, due primarily to fewer services and trade layoffs. Pennsylvania snagged second place, dropping its numbers by 3,240, mostly due to fewer professional layoffs. 

Not a single state registered an increase of more than 1,000 initial claims for the same period. 

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