The number of U.S. people seeking
unemployment benefits went down last week due to the weakening
effects of superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Labor Department reported
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 410,000 in the week ending Nov. 17, down 41,000 from the previous week's revised figure.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, also increased dramatically to 396,250, beyond the threshold of 375,000.
Jobless claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate. Not until the previous week, have applications mostly stayed slightly below that level since the spring, a level consistent with modest job growth.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov.10 stood at 3.337 million, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week.
The fresh jobless claims data reflected the lingering effects of Sandy, which swept the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine in late October, with a large number of applications filed in storm- damaged areas.
Besides flagging global economy, concerns over a U.S. fiscal cliff is also dampening the employment outlook. To boost anemic economic growth and the labor market, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced in September it would expand its holdings of mortgage debt until the employment market has improved significantly.
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