Jobless claims fall for 2nd straight week

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance fell for the second straight week, according to weekly government data released Thursday.

There were 448,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 24, down 11,000 from an upwardly revised 459,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department's weekly report.

Economists surveyed by had expected new claims to fall to 445,000 in the latest week. The number of new claims was the lowest since the 442,000 reported in the week ended March 27.

The Labor Department also tracks the four-week moving average of initial claims, which smoothes out volatility in the measure. That number reached 462,500 for the week, up 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 461,000.

"The claims numbers are moving in right direction," said John Canally, an economist for LPL Financial.

"We'd like to see claims stay below 400,000 to get more confidence about robust jobs growth," he added.

The number of people filing continuing claims totaled 4,645,000 in the week ended April 17, the most recent data available. That figure was down 18,000 from the preceding week's revised 4,663,000 claims, and slightly above the 4,625,000 economists expected, according to Continuing claims were down for the fourth straight week.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims totaled 4,639,000, down 9,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,648,000.

Continuing claims data exclude people whose benefits expired or those who have moved to state or federal extensions. It reflects those filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate on April 15 approved an extension of unemployment insurance until June 2. In March, the government instituted a number of tax breaks for businesses and other measures spark job growth and nudge the stubborn 9.7% unemployment rate down.

Many economists expect the jobless rate to tick down slightly when the number is announced on May 7.

Although Canally expects to see some distortion in the May jobs data, largely because of the temporary Census workers, he forecast an umemployment rate of 9.6%. He says that number could fall to 9.25% by year-end.

Jobless claims fell the most in New York, with a dip of 21,010 in the week ended April 17, primarily due to fewer layoffs in the service and transportation industries.

California and Pennsylvania rounded out the top three states with the largest declines in new claims. Puerto Rico, Iowa, and Georgia didn't fare as well, topping the list of areas with the largest increases in initial claims.

The report follows a spate of promising economic data including strong retail sales, and better-than-expected corporate earnings and housing data. But that upbeat news has been overshadowed by troubles on the international stage, which peaked this week with the downgrade of Greek, Portuguese andSpanish sovereign debt ratings.

Many economists expect gradual improvement to continue on the jobs front, but the process of getting back to normal unemployment levels is likely to take years.

"Even though the economy is in recovery, it isn't going to feel like a real recovery to the average person until they see their jobs back," said Canally.  To top of page

Just the hot list include
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 32,627.97 -234.33 -0.71%
Nasdaq 13,215.24 99.07 0.76%
S&P 500 3,913.10 -2.36 -0.06%
Treasuries 1.73 0.00 0.12%
Data as of 6:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 8.29 0.05 0.61%
Advanced Micro Devic... 54.59 0.70 1.30%
Cisco Systems Inc 47.49 -2.44 -4.89%
General Electric Co 13.00 -0.16 -1.22%
Kraft Heinz Co 27.84 -2.20 -7.32%
Data as of 2:44pm ET


Bankrupt toy retailer tells bankruptcy court it is looking at possibly reviving the Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us brands. More

Land O'Lakes CEO Beth Ford charts her career path, from her first job to becoming the first openly gay CEO at a Fortune 500 company in an interview with CNN's Boss Files. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.