Jobless Claims Drop in More Good Job Market News

June 12, 2003 ( - The light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the ailing US job market continued to get brighter as the number of unemployed workers applying for first-time jobless benefits dropped.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), the initial claims total fell 17,000 to 430,000 from a revised 447,000 for the week ending June 7. The latest unemployment insurance applications data follows a DoL report last week that the economy shed fewer non-farm jobs than feared – even though the unemployment rate ticked up. (See  Jobless Rate Up But Payroll Data Improves).

The four-week moving average for the June 7 week – a closely watched indicator because it irons out short-term volatility – bumped up slightly to 433,750 from a revised 431,500 the previous week. The latest report follows DoL data for the May 31 week showing a jobless claims increase (See  DoL: Jobless Benefit Applicant Total Jumps by 16,000 ).

Analysts participating in Reuters’ weekly survey were expecting claims of 424,000 for the June 7 week. Economists consider data above the 400,000 mark to be a sign the domestic job market is still in the doldrums.