Jobless Claims Ping-Pongs Back Above 400,000

October 31, 2002 ( - The number of first-time jobless claims continued its recent pattern of ping ponging above and below the key 400,000 mark with an unexpectedly large 16,000 increase for the week ending October 26, the government reported.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), there were 410,000 initial jobless claims, up from the earlier week’s revised figure of 394,000.

The October 26 claims increase was also significantly higher than the 399,000 economists in Reuters’ regular poll had predicted.

The latest report follows last week’s 25,000-claim drop for the October 19 week (See  Jobless Claims Back Below 400,000 ).

The four-week moving average, a more reliable measure of employment because it irons out weekly fluctuations, was 401,750 for the October 26 week, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 405,250, the DoL said.

In another closely watched indicator, out-of-work Americans are apparently staying that way for a while.

The number of workers continuing on state unemployment aid rose by 76,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.6 million for the week ended October 19, the most recent week these data were available, the DoL report said.