WASHINGTON (8/30/13)--Initial U.S. claims for unemployment benefits declined more than forecast for the week ended Aug. 24, signaling continued improvement in the U.S. labor market (Moody's Economy.com and Bloomberg.com Aug. 29).
Claims fell 6,000--to 331,000 from 337,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had predicted a drop to 332,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.
The four-week moving average of claims inched upward to 331,250 for the week ended Aug. 24 from 330,500 the previous week--which is not a substantial increase and is the first since early July, Moody's said.
Continuing claims for unemployment benefits decreased 14,000--to 2.989 million for the week ended Aug. 17.
Employers are maintaining their work forces as they prepare for escalating demand and improved growth when the effects of federal budget cuts and higher taxes start to diminish, Bloomberg said.
Although companies have been averse to cutting jobs, they have not been as successful in creating new jobs because they are preparing for political battles concerning new health care laws, the Federal Reserve's intention to reduce its stimulus and the national deficit, said Bloomberg.