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There's a Major Glitch with the Latest Unemployment Aid Numbers and the Labor Dept Is Admitting It

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Two states responsible.

Unemployed New Yorkers look through the help wanted ads May 8, 2003 at Department of Labor field office in midtown Manhattan in New York City. The nation's jobless rate climbed to six percent in April, rising for the third straight month and adding up to half a million lost jobs. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that claims for unemployment were at a "persistent high level." New York's job market has especially been hit hard, with many applicants being unable to find work. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Applications for jobless benefits supposedly fell 31,000 for the week ending September 7, bringing the total to 292,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 323,000, the Labor Department announced on Thursday.

However, government officials say the steep drop is due to computer-related errors and not improvements in the labor markets.

"This is not necessarily an indication of a change in labor market conditions," said a department spokesman.

Apparently, he explained, two states recently upgraded their computer systems and did not process all their applications. The spokesman declined to identify which states are responsible for the glitchy report.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, fell by 7,500, bringing the total to 321,250, down from the previous unrevised average of 328,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending August 31, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the report reads.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 31 was 2,871,000, a decrease of 73,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,944,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,953,000, a decrease of 24,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,977,750,” it adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending August 31 were Oregon (+1,085), Pennsylvania (+725), Nebraska (+609), New Jersey (+537), and Kansas (+394).

Meanwhile, California (-4,988), Nevada (-2,125), New York (-1,259), Georgia (-1,221), and Florida (-884) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Lastly, as MarketWatch notes, the Labor Day holiday may have also skewed Thursday's report. So expect a huge jump in next week’s numbers.

Here’s what’s most active in the markets this morning:

Company Ticker Last Change Pct Change
SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY 169.40 0.53 0.31%
NOKIA CORP NOK 5.95 0.29 5.12%
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION BAC 14.65 0.04 0.27%
ISHARES MSCI EMERGING MARKETS ET EEM 41.37 0.03 0.06%
FACEBOOK CL A FB 45.04 1.44 3.30%
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PARTNERS INC AEGY 0.00 0.00 21.43%
MICRON TECH INC MU 16.49 0.23 1.41%
SIRIUS XM RADIO INC SIRI 3.87 0.02 0.52%
MICROSOFT CP MSFT 32.74 0.35 1.08%
ALCATEL-LUCENT ALU 3.40 0.12 3.41%

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.

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