Less than a month after spiking in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, initial claims for unemployment insurance across the U.S. fell to 356,000 last week, 79,000 fewer than the previous week's revised figure of 435,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on September 29. The department's four-week moving average of initial claims continued to rise however. Last week the average was 385,500 claims, an increase of 8,500 from the previous week's revised average of 377,000.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department published its third and final figure for U.S. GDP growth in the second quarter of 2005. The inflation-adjusted figure of 3.3% was the same as the department's second estimate. Initially, the department figured GDP growth for the April-through-June quarter at 3.4%. The Commerce Department's first estimate of GDP growth in the third quarter of this year is due to be released on October 28.