Jobless Claims Queue Continues to Shrink

October 30, 2003 ( - The queue of Americans for filing first-time unemployment benefits claims continued to get shorter last week - the fourth straight claims decrease in as many weeks.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), the latest claims total for the week ending October 25 dropped by 5,000 to 386,000 from a revised 391,000 the previous week. That follows a DoL report for the week ending October 18 showing a 4,000-claims drop (See Jobless Claims Drop for Third Straight Week ).

The four-week moving average for the October 25 week – a closely watched indicator because it irons out short-term volatility – was 388,750, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised 393,500.    It was the lowest level in eight months.

The only storm cloud in the government latest job picture came in the number of jobless workers forced to cling to the unemployment rolls. The number of Americans continuing to collect benefits for the week ending October 18 was up 57,000 to 3.56 million from the previous week’s revised 3.5 million.

The new claims figure was in line with predictions of Wall Street economists participating in Reuters’ regular survey who had predicted a 385,000 claims total for the October 25 week.