Jobless Claims Fall, Suggesting Improving Labor Market

By John S. McClenahen Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 382,000 last week, some 23,000 fewer than the previous week's revised figure of 405,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Oct. 9. Last week's figure is well below the 394,000 that economists generally were expecting. And it is well below the 400,000 mark, which suggests that the U.S. labor market is gaining strength. Significantly, the Labor department's four-week moving average for initial claims fell last week to 393,000, a decrease from the previous week's revised average of 405,000. "So far in the three weeks since the mid-September payroll period, the weekly claims are consistent with a second straight monthly rise in nonfarm payrolls," says Maury Harris, chief U.S. economist at UBS Investment Research, New York.

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