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 to 2-1/2 year low

initial_jobless_claims.gi.top.jpgUnemployed Americans pick up job applications at the National Careers Fair in Los Angeles earlier this week. By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years last week, easing some of the disappointment about a weak monthly jobs report.

There were 383,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down 36,000 from the week before, and much better than the 410,000 claims economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected.

It was also the lowest level since July 5, 2008, when 371,000 first-time claims were filed.

Continuing claims -- which include people filing for the second week of benefits or more -- fell by 47,000 to 3,888,000 in the week ended Jan. 29, the most recent week available.

The weekly figure has jumped around in the last two months, and economists say the data may not be completely "clean" yet. Winter weather can make the figure volatile, because it can temporarily put people out of work and close state unemployment offices.

"These data have been sort of distorted by weather and various statistical clouds over the last 8 weeks, but it looks like new jobless claims are trending lower," said Zach Pandl, an economist with Nomura.

Pandl points to the 4-week moving average of initial claims to show that the overall trend still remains on a downward track, even in spite of weather-related distortions. That number fell by 16,000 to 415,500 in the latest week.

The report comes less than week after a confusing January jobs report fell far short of expectations, showing only 36,000 jobs added during the month. However, the unemployment rate slipped to 9% from 9.4% in December. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 15,660.18 -254.56 -1.60%
Nasdaq 4,266.84 -16.75 -0.39%
S&P 500 1,829.08 -22.78 -1.23%
Treasuries 1.64 -0.06 -3.58%
Data as of 6:33pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 11.16 -0.82 -6.84%
Cisco Systems Inc 24.68 2.17 9.64%
General Electric Co 27.45 -0.85 -3.00%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 1.78 0.08 4.71%
Apple Inc 93.70 -0.57 -0.60%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Boeing's stock fell by as much as 12% after Bloomberg reported the SEC is investigating the company's accounting practices. More

The S&P 500 has lost 11% in the first six weeks of the year and the Nasdaq is near bear market territory. But the U.S. economy is not in a crisis. More

Twitter's stock is sinking fast after the company reported that it lost customers in the fourth quarter of 2015. More

Bloom Technologies impresses Richard Branson to win the Extreme Tech Challenge startup contest. More

GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio wants some radical changes to the tax code. But the numbers don't add up, according to a new analysis. More