California, Scheming, Pulls US Jobless Claims Lower

January 10, 2002 ( - The number of newly-unemployed Americans lining up for benefits for the first time fell again this week, dropping from 451,000 to 395,000 in the week ending January 5, according to figures from the Department of Labor.

According to Reuters, the drop of 56,000, or 12%, was much larger than anticipated by Wall Street analysts, who were expecting a drop of 3.5%.

Much of the decline can be attributed to California workers delaying their applications to take advantage of increased benefits under a new state law, which comes into affect in the second week of the month, the DoL notes.

The four-week moving average, considered a more reliable measure of unemployment because it smoothes out weekly volatility, remained fairly level, edging down by a mere 250, to 410,500 from 410,750 the previous week.