Jobless Claims Once Again Head South

December 19, 2002 ( - The government's jobless claims totals resumed its earlier pattern of weekly decreases last week with an albeit less than expected falloff of 11,000.

The US Department of Labor (DoL) said the decrease put the jobless totals at 433,000 for the week ending December 14, down from the previous week’s revised total of 444,000.

However, the four-week moving average for the December 14 week – a closely watched employment indicator because it smoothes out weekly volatility – rose by 12,750 to 400,750 from a revised 388,000.  

Economists polled by Reuters had expected jobless claims to fall to 408,000 from the 441,000 previously reported for the December 7 week.

The December 7 report featured a sizable claims increase that ended a prior pattern of three straight weekly drops. (See Jobless Claims Decreases End With 83,000 Leap ).

The government’s most recent unemployment rate figure increased from 5.7% in October to 6% in November. (See November’s Unemployment Shoots Up ).