Jobless Claims, Why Won’t You Go Down?

Initial jobless claims last week fell by just 1,000 to 404,000, the Department of Labor reports.

This is better than claims a few weeks ago, which hit a high of 432,000, but is essentially unchanged since the beginning of the year (claims were at 405,000 in early March).

Bah.

The numbers are exactly where economists had predicted, and they’re now being interpreted as…well…better than the alternative.

“Three consecutive weeks of claims around 400,000 are somewhat reassuring, as they suggest that layoffs remain contained despite high uncertainty in the economy,” Guy Berger, senior economist with RBS in Stamford, Connecticut, told Reuters.

For the week ended Sept 24, 6.8 million people were receiving some form of unemployment insurance, including 3 million who had exhausted their regular state benefits and were receiving emergency checks from the federal government.