Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Jobless claims fall below 450,000

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Initial filings for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level in nearly three months last week, an encouraging sign ahead of the government's highly anticipated monthly jobs report due Friday.

The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits fell to 445,000 in the week ended Oct. 2, down 11,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The number was lower than economists' forecasts of 455,000, according to consensus estimates by Briefing.com, but it still fell in a range that analysts say points to weakness in the job market.

"It's a good data point for the week," said T.C. Robillard, a senior research analyst for Signal Hill Capital. "But, historically speaking, these are still relatively high levels for where we are in the recovery."

The last time initial claims ticked below 450,000 was during the week ended July 10.

But overall, the weekly number has been stuck in a tight range since last November, hovering in the mid to upper 400,000s and even ticking slightly above 500,000 in mid-August.

The most recent four-week moving average, which is calculated to smooth out volatility, was 455,750.

Economists say they're looking for initial claims to fall to 400,000 or lower before they can say a jobs recovery has made noteworthy progress.

Businesses have been sitting on the fence when it comes to hiring, as they face uncertainty about the Bush tax cuts expiring at the end of the year and increased costs from health care reform.

More than 4,460,000 Americans continued to file ongoing unemployment claims in the week ended Sept. 25, the most recent data available.

On Friday, Wall Street will turn its attention to the government's monthly jobs report. Economists polled by Briefing.com forecast the report to show the economy added no jobs in September, and that the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.7% from 9.6% in August. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 22,956.96 85.24 0.37%
Nasdaq 6,624.01 18.20 0.28%
S&P 500 2,557.64 4.47 0.18%
Treasuries 2.31 0.03 1.18%
Data as of 2:08am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 26.24 0.41 1.59%
General Electric Co 23.36 0.38 1.65%
PG&E Corp 53.43 -4.29 -7.43%
Advanced Micro Devic... 14.26 0.04 0.28%
Micron Technology In... 41.49 1.09 2.70%
Data as of Oct 16
Sponsors

Sections

More than 5% of DACA recipients have started their own businesses since enrolling the program, according to a recent survey. More

Crashing out of the EU without a trade deal will cost British households an extra £260 ($345) a year, according to a new report. More

Netflix plans to continue ramping up its spending as the arms race for original content heats up. More

More than 30 companies have been sued by the government over the past month for scamming student loan borrowers. More