Jobless Claims Drop Steepest Since Oct. 2001

December 26, 2002 ( - First-time claims for jobless benefits fell for the second straight week - and by the largest amount since 1993, the government reported.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), claims dropped for the week ending December 21 to 378,000, down 60,000 from the earlier week’s revised total of 438,000. The DoL said it was the sharpest weekly decline since ince July 31, 1993, when claims fell by the same amount, according to the Associated Press.

The latest decline surprised economists participating in Reuters’ weekly survey. They had called for a drop to 404,000 from the original measure of 433,000 for the December 14 week.

The DoL said that the latest four-week moving average, a more reliable gauge because it smoothes out week-to-week fluctuations, rose slightly to 404,500. That was up by 2,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 402,000, and the highest reading since October 19.

The DoL’s latest report follows jobless claims figures for the December 14 week, which were down 11,000 to 433,000. (See

Jobless Claims Once Again Head South ).