Number of new jobless claims dips slightly
The number of new jobless claims filed last week dropped slightly compared with the week before, while the number of continuing claims inched upward.
The government said moments ago that 439,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, a 6,000-person drop from the week before. Forecasters predicted that 443,000 new claims would be filed last week.
The number of continuing claims -- those on long-term unemployment -- rose slightly last week from 4.64 million to 4.66 million.
And the four-week moving average of new claims -- which smooths out volatility -- dropped 6,750 last week to 447,250.
This time last year, Americans were filing more than 600,000 new jobless claims each week, so today's number is an improvement on that. However, economists say that sustainable new job growth won't happen until the weekly jobless claims number gets into the low 400s.
Today's data come between Wednesday's ADP private-sector employment report and Friday's federal government report, which will reveal the March official U.S. unemployment rate.
Markets were surprised Wednesday when the ADP report showed that 23,000 jobs were shed in March; forecasters were expecting a gain of 40,000 jobs. Forecasters expect Friday's unemployment rate to hold steady at 9.7 percent. However, it's worth noting that the March unemployment rate will be slightly altered by U.S. Census currently underway. The Commerce Department is hiring more than 600,000 temporary workers to help with the census, and 100,000 of those were hired in March. Those jobs go away when the survey ends.
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April 1, 2010; 8:44 AM ET
Categories: Data , The Ticker , Unemployment | Tags: jobless claims, unemployment
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