The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell last week, unwinding some of the weather-related spike during the previous week, but the underlying tone of the report pointed to some weakening in the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised up to show 3,000 more applications than previously reported. Claims the prior week had been pushed up by Tropical Storm Isaac.76 upward revisions in 77 weeks. It's the only way they can show a decrease in claims from one week to the next.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 375,000 last week. A Labor Department official said there were no special factors influencing the report, adding that only claims data for New Mexico had been estimated.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,000 to 377,750 - the highest level since June. It was the fifth consecutive weekly increase in the measure.