Jobless Claims Fall Below 400,000

As Minnesotans returned to work after the state government shutdown and layoffs eased elsewhere, jobless claims dipped below 400,000 for the first time since April, falling 24,000 from a revised 422,000, the Labor Department announced today.

The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, remained higher at 413,750, a decrease of 8,500.

Economists had forecast a drop of just 7,000 to 415,000 claims, Reuters says.

Meanwhile, for the week of July 4-9, a total of 7.6 million Americans (or 320,000 more than the week before) were receiving some form of unemployment benefits, including 3.1 million who had exhausted their state benefits.