Jobless claims fall, but still stuck

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week, but continued to drift in the same range they have been for about a year, signaling ongoing weakness in the labor market.

There were 452,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Oct. 16, down 23,000 from an upwardly revised 475,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department's weekly report.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting 455,000 new claims.

The weekly figure has been stuck in a narrow range since last November, hovering in the mid- to upper-400,000 range, and even ticking slightly above 500,000 in mid-August.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims -- a number that tries to smooth out week-to-week volatility -- was 458,000, down 4,250 from the previous week.

"The underlying trend in claims still looks resolutely flat, which means we see little chance of any sustained improvement in the private sector payroll numbers any time soon," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Shepherdson added that in order for jobless claims to drop meaningfully, the credit environment, particularly for small businesses, must improve. He expects those better conditions will gradually emerge over the next year.

Continuing claims: The government said 4,441,000 people filed unemployment claims for their second week or more, during the week ended Oct. 9, the most recent data available. That's down 9,000 from an upwardly revised 4,450,000 the week before.

Economists were expecting 4,400,000 people to file ongoing claims.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 23,250 to 4,478,000.

Continuing claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, or people who have exhausted their benefits but are still out of a job.

State-by-state: Claims jumped by more than 1,000 in 25 states. They rose the most in New York, by 8,558, due to layoffs in the construction, service and manufacturing industries.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,098.45 18.88 0.11%
Nasdaq 4,580.27 22.57 0.50%
S&P 500 2,003.37 6.63 0.33%
Treasuries 2.34 0.01 0.39%
Data as of 8:18pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.09 0.08 0.50%
Apple Inc 102.50 0.25 0.24%
Intel Corp 34.92 0.27 0.78%
Facebook Inc 74.82 0.96 1.31%
General Electric Co 25.98 -0.03 -0.12%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

Three days after the companies said they were cutting ties, American Airlines and Orbitz came to a new agreement. More

Gas prices are falling to nearly $3 a gallon in some parts of South Carolina, and that will soon be common in much of the country. More

Netflix told the FCC that its speed on the Comcast network became so slow that customers began dropping their service. More

Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.