Weekly US jobless claims dip despite hurricanes

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the US, decreased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 in the week ended October 7, the Labor Department said Thursday.

United States jobless claims retreated by slightly more than expected over the last reference week, although the government statisticians cautioned that hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria had impacted the claims data. Last week's claims figure was revised down by 2,000 to 258,000 in Thursday's report.

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A Labor Department official said Harvey and Irma along with Hurricane Maria affected claims for Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 251,000 in the latest week. Number of Americans applying for first-time jobless benefits. Claims have been declining since surging to an nearly three-year high of 298,000 at the start of September as workers displaced by the hurricanes were left temporarily unemployed. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

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The four-week moving average rose to just 257,500, an decrease of 9, 500 from the prior week's' average, which was revise down by 1,250.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week dropped to 1,889,000 in the week ended September 30, the lowest level for continuing claims since December 1973.

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The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 32,000 to 1.89 million in the week ended September 30, the lowest level since December 1973.

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