CHICAGO (11/8/13)--Research about U.S. labor market activity reveals that data from October--a month marred by a partial government shutdown--contains a few silver linings as the holiday shopping season approaches.
A Chicago-based research firm found that the total number of job cuts increased slightly throughout the month. The survey, conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, showed that the country's employers cut 45,730 jobs from the nation's payrolls--up from the 40,289 jobs cut in September.
But Labor Department data found that seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment insurance claims decreased by 9,000 for the week ending Nov. 2, down to 336,000 from an upwardly revised 345,000 the week before.
The four-week moving average of first time claims also dipped by 9,250 to 348,250.
Signs of long-term weakness in the labor market persist, however. Initial claims remained higher than they were at the end of the summer. Before the shutdown and a backlog of unprocessed claims that mounted in California after the state switched computer systems, weekly first-time claims hovered around 325,000 (MarketWatch Nov. 7).
Continuing claims also rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.87 million in the week ending Oct. 26.