Jobless Claims Improve Unexpectedly

Workers waiting in lineWASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to resilience in the labor market despite belt-tightening by Washington. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, pushing back below the 350,000 mark that economists normally associate with a firming job market.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 345,000 last week.

The drop last week unwound most of the prior week's jump, suggesting employers were not laying off workers in response to tighter fiscal policy, especially the $85 billion in across-the-board government spending cuts that have dampened factory activity. A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there was nothing unusual in the state-level data. The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, slipped 500 to 339,500.

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Last week's claims data covered the survey period for May nonfarm payrolls. Claims dropped 15,000 between the April and May survey periods, suggesting steady gains in employment this month. Employers added 165,000 jobs to their payrolls in April.

The labor market is being closely watched by the Federal Reserve as debate over the future of its expansive monetary stimulus heats up. On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers that a decision to scale back the $85 billion in bonds the U.S. central bank Fed is buying each month could come at one of its "next few meetings" if the economy appeared set to maintain momentum.

Economic activity appears to have cooled somewhat early in the second quarter on the back of tighter fiscal policy, but the slowdown could prove to be temporary as the steady job gains combine with rising share and home prices to support consumer spending.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 112,000 to 2.91 million in the week ended May 11. That was the first time in five years so-called continuing claims were below the 3 million mark.



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Tom

Here we go again. AOL when people give up, run out of benifits or take 3 part time jobs that does not mean that things are better.

May 23 2013 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bambamsgolfcart

Yeah and last months numbers were adjusted upward. The Obambammers are always trying to pull the wool over everyones eyes.

Everyday more and more of the bambammers lies are exposed.

May 23 2013 at 7:54 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

One more time, will the real unemployment rate please stand up.

May 23 2013 at 6:58 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rcohn95038

Let Reuters pop the Champagne, so a retailer makes a buck! The economy is in the toilet.

May 23 2013 at 6:09 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rcohn95038's comment
ectullis

And Hussein is about to flush

May 23 2013 at 6:56 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
nonucantmakemee

I m p e a c h o b a m a and things will improve fast

May 23 2013 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nonucantmakemee's comment
ectullis

Overnight

May 23 2013 at 6:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
nonucantmakemee

the only reason unemployment claims are declining is because people have been cut off

May 23 2013 at 5:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
nflamingo

The average American would dispute this article. Nobody is out there asking the person walking down the street or someone who is shopping for food.

May 23 2013 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
burthurt

Duh , its summer

May 23 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Paul

The gov likes to use the U-3 rate which is 7.8%. The U-6 rate reflects the more realistic rate at 14.7% .

May 23 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
Escalonz

Economy Shows Bright Sign....................This is pure BS and they know it.

May 23 2013 at 2:14 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Escalonz's comment
Paul

The 1% are doing fine.

May 23 2013 at 2:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Paul's comment
bambamsgolfcart

You're right rich 1%ers like Obama are doing fine and living a life of luxury.

May 23 2013 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down

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