Labor Department Reports Lowest Jobless Claims Since Mid-July

By Antea Gatalica

Initial jobless claims fell to 263,000, a decrease of 13,000, in the week ended Oct. 3, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The 4-week moving average in the week ended Oct. 3 stood at 267,500, a 1.1 percent change decrease from the week prior. The number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose to 2.2 million in the week ended Sept. 26. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits was 1.6 percent.

The numbers reported are some of the lowest since mid-July, but David Nice, Economist and Vice President at Mesirow Financial, said given the low employment numbers reported in August and September, global uncertainty has caused employers to hesitate on hiring.

“The main driver of uncertainty is China. It’s the second largest economy and a lot of companies, their profits are now driven by emerging markets. If there is any sense that China is weaker than what they are reporting, that would be something to look out for,” Nice said.

California and Pennsylvania showed the largest increase in jobless claims filed in the week ended Oct. 3; however, Michigan had the biggest decrease in jobless claims during this time, an improvement from the week prior, as the state’s manufacturing industry faces challenges.

In a post released on Mesirow Financial’s website on Oct. 2, Diane Swonk, Senior Managing Director and Chief Economist, said despite manufacturing’s decline, motor vehicles and parts had near-record sales.

“It is worth noting, however, that dealers were almost giving away vehicles… Sales are likely to dissipate once incentives are scaled back,” Swonk said.

While newly discharged veterans saw a decrease in claims, a 6.6 percent change from the week ending Sept. 19 to Sept. 26, federal employees had an increase over this time, nearly a 9 percent change.

Photo at top: Numbers reported are some of the lowest since mid-July, but global uncertainty has caused employers to hesitate on hiring. (TaxCredits.net/Creative Commons)

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