Jobless Claims Down for Second Week

November 14, 2002 ( - Government statistics for the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits broke out of its recent see-saw pattern with a second straight decline for the week ending November 9.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL) data, the jobless figure dropped 8,000 to 388,000 down from a revised 396,000 for the previous week. Economists believe a jobless figure below the 400,000 mark is a sign of a strengthening job market.

The latest week’s numbers came in below Wall Street analysts’ projections of 395,000 claims.

The much-watched four-week moving average, considered to be a more reliable indicator of trends because it smoothes out short-term volatility, also fell to 396,750 in the November 9 week from a revised 403,250 the prior week. The DOL said that brings it to its lowest level since the August. 24 week and marked the end of a 10-week run above 400,000.

The number of continued claims, measuring the number of people drawing benefits for more than a single week, rose in the November 2 week, increasing to 3.6 million, the highest level since the October. 5 week.

Figures for the week ending November 2  dropped by 20,000 to 390,000 , the DoL said.