Jobless claims surge to 457,000

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More than 450,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment insurance last week, a discouraging sign ahead of the government's highly anticipated monthly jobs report due Friday.

The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits surged to 457,000 in the week ended Oct. 30, up 20,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The number was higher than economists' forecasts of 445,000, according to consensus estimates by Briefing.com, and it fell in a range that analysts say points to continued weakness in the job market.

"Everyone would like to see the labor market improve faster, but with the overall economy growing slowly, recent claim statistics suggest there has been little improvement in the labor market," said Zach Pandl, economist with Nomura Securities.

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.

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 four-week moving average, calculated to smooth out volatility, totaled 456,000, up 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 458,750.

The number of people continuing to file unemployment claims for a second week or more fell to 4,340,000 during the week ended Oct. 23, the most recent data available. That's down 42,000 from a revised 4,382,000 the week before.

Meanwhile, Congress is gearing up for a battle on extending federal unemployment benefits. About two million people are at risk of running out of the federal safety net next month, if Congress doesn't vote to extend the application deadline beyond Nov. 30.

Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Jobless claims in eight states rose by more than 1,000 in the week ended Oct. 23. Claims in California rose the most -- by 3,755 -- which the state attributed to layoffs in forestry, fishing and agriculture.

On Friday, Wall Street will turn its attention to the government's closely-watched monthly labor report.

Economists polled by Briefing.com forecast the report to show the economy added 60,000 jobs in October, an improvement over the 95,000 jobs lost the month before. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 9.6%. 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 16,979.13 59.54 0.35%
Nasdaq 4,526.48 -1.03 -0.02%
S&P 500 1,986.51 4.91 0.25%
Treasuries 2.43 0.02 0.87%
Data as of 4:58pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.52 0.07 0.45%
Apple Inc 100.57 0.04 0.04%
General Electric Co 26.36 0.31 1.19%
Intel Corp 34.50 0.16 0.47%
Staples Inc 11.32 -0.30 -2.58%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Warren Buffett's investment firm will pay nearly $900,000 to settle allegations it did not tell federal regulators before taking a major ownership stake in a company, the government said. More

Median income is up 3.8% since 2011, though it's still down since the economic recovery began in 2009. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

When hairdresser Mark Bustos isn't cutting the hair of fashion designers and real estate moguls, he's traveling around the world giving free haircuts to the homeless. 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.