Marginal Improvement in Labor Market as Jobless Claims Decrease

October 28 00:00 2011

New York, October 28 ( – The US labor market seems to have improved marginally with fewer Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits last week and those on benefit rolls dropping to a three-year-low. In the week ended Oct. 22, first-time jobless claims went down by 2,000 to 402,000, according to Labor Department figures released in Washington Thursday.

Economists had forecast a drop to 401,000. In the prior week, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits fell by 96,000 to 3.65 million, the fewest since September 2008. Faster hiring is needed to control unemployment, lift confidence and spur the economy.

Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica Inc. in Dallas said “We’re not making much progress. Unless we see the labor market improve, we won’t see income growth. The consumer will remain fundamentally constrained.” Commerce Department figures revealed today that the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in a year as gains in consumer spending and business investment helped support a recovery on the brink of faltering.

The data released today showed that the four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 405,500 last week from 403,750. Continuing claims excluding the number of Americans receiving extended benefits under federal programs were forecast to decrease to 3.72 million.