Jobless Claims Still Above 400,000 Level

September 5, 2002 ( - First-time jobless claims posted a drop, but still clung stubbornly to the key 400,000 mark for the second straight week.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), claims dipped by 8,000 for the week ending August 31 to 403,000 from a revised figure of 411,000 the previous week. It was the first drop since the first week of August.

The latest drop follows an 8,000-claim increase for the previous week – the first time the closely watched economic indicator broke the 400,000 barrier in nearly two months.

Thursday’s report fell short of expectations of analysts regularly polled by Reuters who had predicted a stronger claims decrease to 397,000.

The four-week moving average, considered by many analysts to be a more reliable indicator of trends because it smoothes out short-term fluctuation, rose to 400,000, its highest level since the week ended June 8.

The 400,000 claims level is important because economists generally consider it an indicator of a recession.