U.S. Jobless Claims Decline

By John S. McClenahen Although it's still too early to be certain of a trend, the U.S. labor market is showing signs of increasing strength. For example, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Oct. 23 that the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell last week to 386,000, in line with economists' expectations and some 4,000 fewer than the previous week's revised figure of 390,000. The department's four-week moving average of initial claims was unchanged from the week before at 392,250. What is encouraging is that both the one-week and four-week numbers remained below the 400,000 mark that's generally considered the dividing point between a weakening and strengthening labor market.

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