Jobless Claims, Housing Starts Rise

By Agence France-Presse New claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 411,000 for the week ended Oct.12 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The rise in claims was in line with market expectations. Many analysts expected the rebound in initial claims this week because they believed seasonal factors depressed claims in the week ended Oct. 5. The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims fell 4,750 in the week ended Oct. 12 to 408,750, marking the lowest level in the four-week moving average since the week ended Aug. 31. Meanwhile, housing starts were up 13.3% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.843 million units, according to the Commerce Department. The dramatic rise in September housing starts, at their highest level since June 1986, was significantly larger than expected. Wall Street economists' consensus forecast had called for housing starts to rise by just 0.7% to 1.62 million units. Record low interest rates helped support the rise in September housing starts, which were notably boosted by a strong rise in single-family homes, a Commerce Department spokeswoman said. Year on year, housing starts in September were up 16.5%. Single-family housing starts rose 18.2% to an annual rate of 1.477 million units in September. This is the highest level of single-family housing starts since November 1978. Starts of multiple-family units fell 4.4% to 329,000 units in September after increasing 13.9% the previous month. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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