Initial claims fell by 9,000 in the October 3 week to a level of 840,000, above expectations for a level of 819,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
While any decline is welcomed, the tight range in which initial claims remain suggests that little progress is being made in getting people back to work.
The four-week moving average for initial claims fell by 13,250 to 857,000 in the current week, a tenth straight decline. While the moving average could decline further next week as an 866,000 level rolls out, the average should flatten out after that without further declines in the headline number.
Unadjusted claims rose by 5,312 in the current week after a decrease of 28,217 in the previous week. Seasonal adjustment factors expected a larger increase in the current week, leading to the decline in the seasonally adjusted figure.
The state data shows that California’s claims from a few weeks ago is still being used as they ceased processing of new claims for two weeks. When this data is replaced with actual readings, some of which may be impacted by the wildfires, large movements are possible.
The Labor Department reported that 464,437 workers filed under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on an unadjusted basis in the current week, down from 508,707 in the previous week.
The level of continuing claims fell by 1.003 million to 10.976 million in the September 26 week, maintaining the downward trend. Many workers have found new jobs, but the decline in continuing claims also suggests that benefits are running out.