Decrease in Jobless Points to Stronger Labor Market

Written by: John Landers

The Labor Department’s jobless claims report for the week-ending February 9th sparked optimism as seasonally adjusted claims decreased by 27,000 to 341,000 compared to 368,000. This represents the biggest drop in over a month. Last week’s claims figures was revised up to show 2,000 more application for benefits than originally reported.

The volume of persons receiving jobless benefits decreased to 3.11 million, a drop of 130,000. This figure reached the lowest point since July 2008.

Reuter’s economists estimated that claims would fall to 360,000. The 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg gave a range of 350,000 to 375,000 claims or a median figure of 360,000 applications.

The four-week moving average increased to 352,500—up 1,500 from the previous week.  This indicator reduces the volatility of the weekly data and provides a more accurate measurement of the underlying trend in the labor market.

Other Data

State programs report that the number of actual claims for the week fell to 359,428, a drop of 29,014 from the prior week. On a year-over-year basis, initial claim applications decreased by 5,586 from 365,014 applications last year.

Overall, 35 states and territories reported an increase in the volume of initial jobless claims applications, and 18 states registered a decrease.

The advance insured unemployment rate, which refers to the volume and length in which workers file initial employment claims, was calculated at 2.8 percent for the week ending February 2,  from 2.9 percent the prior week.

The number of people filing claims in state unemployment insurance programs totaled 3,640, 033—a drop of 103,381 from the previous week revised figure of 3,743,414. At the same point in 2012, states reported an advance insured unemployment rate of 3.1 percent a volume of 3,984,889.


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Decrease in Jobless Points to Stronger Labor...

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