WASHINGTON (11/1/13)--Jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 340,000 for the week ending Oct. 26, according to the Labor Department.
The claims numbers are only slightly higher than what economists predicted, with the key labor market measurement settling after turbulence caused by the federal shutdown and administrative changes in California.
A median of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted that jobless claims last week would be 2,000 lower than the Labor Department's figures. Economists polled by Reuters forecast that first-time applications would be 1,000 lower (Bloomberg.com and Reuters Oct. 31).
Continuing claims for the week ending Oct 19--the most recent Labor Department data available--rose 31,000 to 2.88 million, an increase of about 60,000 since the week ending Sept. 14.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims, a more stable measurement of joblessness, has only increased by 40,000 in that time (Economy.com Oct. 31). Last week, the four-week moving average of first-time claims rose by 8,000.
Federal furloughs are accounted for outside the Labor Department's unemployment insurance claims figures, but the department estimates that the federal shutdown added to around 15,000 private sector claims applications during the first week of the shutdown (Economy.com Oct. 31). The extent to which that is the case will be more apparent after the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its October jobs numbers on Nov. 8.
A Labor Department spokesperson also pointed out that no claims from California last week came from the backlog caused by a change in the state's computer systems.