Jobless Claims Fell Slightly, Dept. Of Labor Reports

In the week ended Oct. 15, claims by first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell slightly, to 403,000 from 409,000, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average, intended to smooth out short-term fluctuations, also fell to 403,000, from 409,250.

Bloomberg economists had predicted a slightly bigger drop, to 400,000 even.

In the week ended Oct. 1, the first week data were available, 6.7 million out-of-work Americans were receiving some form of unemployment insurance, compared to 8.9 million a year ago. Of those 6.7 million, 2.9 million were receiving emergency extended benefits, down from 4 million a year prior.

But, even though the numbers imply that layoffs are still happening in larger numbers than economists would prefer, it’s job creation that is the bigger issue, they said.

“The current weakness in the labor market is largely concentrated on the hiring side,” Henry Mo, a senior economist at Credit Suisse in New York, told Bloomberg. “Labor demand is simply not strong enough to support a complete job recovery.”