View Full Version : Initial jobless claims fall to 1-month low of 509,000

12-04-2008, 10:08 AM

Initial jobless claims fall to 1-month low of 509,000

But less volatile average at 16-year high

By Greg Robb (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/mailto.asp?x=103+114+111+98+98&y=Greg+Robb&z=marketwatch.com&guid=%7Ba7e5656d-85f2-4219-a73c-fb3df2443ed7%7D&siteid=mktw), MarketWatch
Last update: 8:31 a.m. EST Dec. 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Initial jobless claims fell to a one-month low but a less volatile average rose to its highest level in sixteen years, Labor Department data released Thursday showed.
The number of workers filing for state unemployment benefits fell by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 509,000 for the week ending Nov. 29, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
It's the lowest number of initial jobless claims since the week ended Nov. 1. Claims have dropped for two straight weeks after hitting a sixteen year high of 543,000.
The four-week moving average of new claims - which smoothes out distortions caused by one-time events such as holidays and weather - rose by 6,250 to 524,500, the highest in sixteen years.
This is an indication that jobs are becoming harder to find.
Also on the darker side of the data, the number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits rose by 89,000 in the week ending Nov. 22 to a seasonally adjusted 4.09 million, also the most in sixteen years. The four-week average of continuing claims rose to 4.0 million, the most since 1983.
The message here is that Americans who have been laid off from their jobs are finding it harder to get work again.
The headline jobless claims number may give some solace to economists worried about the labor market in November.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expect the economy lost 340,000 jobs in November. But in recent days, there have been signals from economic data that this sharp decline could be too optimistic.
The insured unemployment rate - the portion of all workers covered by unemployment insurance who are collecting benefits - rose to 3.1% in the week ended Nov. 22 from 3.0% in the previous week.
The labor market has weakened significantly over the past year and jobs have been lost every month in 2008.
At the same time last year, initial claims stood at 340,000. http://i.mktw.net/mw3/News/greendot.gif
Greg Robb is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.