Jobless Claims Up 13,000

November 13, 2003 ( - After reaching their lowest point in nearly two years, first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose 13,000 to 366,000 in the week ended November 8.

However, even with the increase, today’s release of jobless data by the Department of Labor (DoL) marked the sixth consecutive week that claims have been below 400,000, a mark many economists use in determining a stable job market.   Last week the total stood at a revised 353,000 (See  Jobless Claims Lowest Since 2001 ).

While weekly jobless claims may have been up slightly, the four-week average, an indicator that smoothes out weekly fluctuations, dropped to a 32-month low of 375,250.   The downward movement marked the third straight week of a decline in the four-week average , suggesting a surprise plunge in claims in the previous week was not simply an aberration.

Economists participating in Reuters’ regular Wall Street survey had predicted a more modest rise of 360,000.

Good news could also be found in news that US employers added 286,000 workers to their payrolls over the last three months, the best three-month performance since before the economy entered recession.   However, even with the increase in jobs, the latest data showed a rise in the total number of unemployed workers who continued to draw benefits after filing an initial claim. That figure rose by 49,000 to 3.53 million in the week ended November 1, the latest week for which figures are available.