Initial Jobless Claims Continue Downward Trend

November 21, 2001( - Initial unemployment benefit claims continued their downward trend in the week ending November 17, according to the weekly figures released by the Department of Labor.

The number of those lining up for first-time unemployment benefits was down for the fourth consecutive week, falling by 15,000 to settle at 427,000.

The more stable four-week moving average of initial claims, viewed as a better indicator of unemployment as it smoothes out weekly volatility, fell to 454,250, its lowest level in two months.

Nevertheless, the unemployment picture remains bleak ? the four-week moving average of those claiming another round of benefits increased to 3.73 million, its highest level since 1983, for the work week ending November 10, the latest week for which data are available.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the data was released a day earlier than usual.