Jobless Numbers Still Suggest Sluggish Labor Market
Initial claims for unemployment benefits dipped for the third consecutive week.
Department of Labor data showed that in the week ended October 26, jobless claims dropped by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. First-time claims for unemployment benefits edged up earlier this month thanks in part to three consecutive weeks of technical problems in California, which caused delays in application processing.
The 16-day partial government shutdown also inflated first-time application numbers because a number of government contractors were laid off temporarily, although furloughed federal workers were not included in the claims data, according to the Labor Department. But after spiking to a six-month high in the week ended October 5, applications have since declined after the initial impact of the government’s budget battle has subsided.
Analysts had been expecting a slightly larger dip, with the consensus estimate set for a decrease to 338,000 new claims.