Jobless Claims Fall, But Less Than Expected

September 19, 2002 ( - The amount of first-time jobless claims headed south last week, but was still stubbornly and unexpectedly high, the US Department of Labor (DoL) said.

DoL data showed the initial jobless claims dropped by 9,000 from last week’s revised 433,000 to a seasonally adjusted 424,000 for the week ended September 14. Economists polled Reuters had been calling for a drop to 414,000.

That follows last week’s jobless showing, which included an unexpectedly large increase to the highest levels since April. (See   Surprise Jump for Jobless Claims ).

In a further sign of weakness, the four-week moving average of first-time claims rose to 418,500, the highest level since May. The moving average isconsidered a more reliable measure of labor conditions because it irons out volatility in the report.

Also according to the DoL, people going out on the unemployment lines have been staying there for a disquietingly long time.

The number of so-called continued claims rose by 71,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.61 million in the week ending September 7, the most recent week the data were available.

That was the biggest increase since March.