Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 41,000 for the week ending November 17, bringing the total to 410,000, down from 451,000, the Labor Department announced on Wednesday.
This brings the total number of initial jobless claims down slightly from last week’s 18-month high.
However, it’s worth noting the four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 9,500, bringing the total to 396,250, up from 386,750.
“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending November 10, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the Labor Department reports.
“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 10 was 3,337,000, a decrease of 30,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,367,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,285,000, an increase of 19,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,265,500,” the report adds.
Like last week, today’s numbers are being blamed on Superstorm Sandy.
“Jobless Claims Still Taking Big Hit From Sandy Effects,” reads one CNBC headline.
“Fewer seek US jobless aid as storm distorts data ,” reads one Associated Press headline.
The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending November 10 were New York (+43,956), New Jersey (+31,094), California (+24,693), Pennsylvania (+7,037), and Connecticut (+1,808).
Meanwhile, Ohio, which has been affected of Superstorm Sandy, saw the biggest decrease in initial claims (-4,996).
So, yes, California reported the third highest number of claims while Ohio reported the largest decrease. Sandy, you're one confusing storm.
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Front page photo courtesy the AP. This post has been updated.