Jobless Claims Down for Third Consecutive Week

December 20, 2001 ( - The pace of layoffs may be slowing, if this week's jobless claims data is anything to go by- initial unemployment claims fell for the third consecutive week, according to data just released by the US Department of Labor (DoL).

In the week ending December 15, initial unemployment benefit claims were down to a seasonally adjusted 384,000 from 395,000 the previous week, the lowest level in over four months – surprising analysts who expected the figure to rise.

The closely watched four-week moving average, considered a better measure of the unemployment picture, fell by 12,250 to reach 438,000 in the week ending December 8, the latest week for which data are available.

However, the unemployment situation still remains bleak, as evidenced by the continued claims figure, which shows that the number of workers claiming an additional week of unemployment benefits rising to 3.7 million, an increase of 100,000 on the previous week’s tally.