WASHINGTON (9/20/13)--Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week remained near a six-year low, although tallies may be skewed because of ongoing reporting irregularities caused by computer-system conversion problems in California and Nevada (The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Sept. 19).
Claims rose 15,000--to 309,000--for the week ended Sept. 14 from one week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had forecast an increase to 330,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Fewer job cuts going forward could pave the way for bigger job gains in hiring and an expansion of consumer spending, which constitutes 70% of the U.S. economy, Bloomberg said.
The labor market is definitely improving, meaning initial jobless claims appear to be influenced by more than just processing problems, Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, continuing claims for unemployment benefits dropped 28,000 for the week ended Sept. 7--a 481,000 decline year over year.