Jobless Claims Continue Dropping

November 21, 2002 ( - Initial jobless claims dropped for the third straight week last week, the government announced.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL) the initial claims dropped by 25,000 for the week ending November 16 to 376,000 from the previous week’s revised 401,000.

The decline was an unexpectedly large one, according to Reuters’ regular economist poll; economists were looking for 392,000 new claims.

The closely followed four-week moving average, which economists say smoothes out short-term volatility, dipped slightly to 395,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 400,250.

Economists generally like to see a jobless claims figure below the 400,000 mark, which they say is a commonly accepted indicator of a recessionary economy.

For the week ending November 9, the DoL reported that the jobless figure dropped 8,000 to 388,000. (See  Jobless Claims Down for Second Week).