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The Number of Americans Applying for Unemployment Benefits Jumps Big Time

It’s time now for one of the few government-sponsored economic reports you’ll see during the partial government shutdown:

Applications for jobless benefits increased 66,000 for the week ending October 5, bringing the total to 374,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 308,000, the Labor Department announced on Thursday.

The major increase is due in part to California finally processing its backlog of applications. The state's claims had been delayed by a computer upgrade.

The recent increase in unemployment benefits also reflects applications from government contractors who have been furloughed because of the partial shutdown.

"Lockheed Martin said Monday that it is furloughing about 2,400 employees. That's lower than the 3,000 employees the company initially said it would furlough because Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has recalled most of the Pentagon's civilian employees to work," the Associated Press reports.

"United Technologies cancelled a planned furlough because of Hagel's announcement," the report adds.

Also, federal workers temporarily laid off by the shutdown are allowed to file for benefits, the AP notes (but those numbers are recorded and reported separately from the BLS's unemployment benefits report).

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, rose by 20,000, bringing the total to 325,000, up from the previous unrevised average of 305,000.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending September 28, unchanged from the prior week's revised rate,” the report reads.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 28 was 2,905,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,921,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,858,750, an increase of 22,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,836,250,” it adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending September 28 were Oregon (+1,104), California (+1,045), Pennsylvania (+736), and Missouri (+561).

Meanwhile, Michigan (-2,061), New York (-1,694), Florida (-1,349), Texas (-1,255), and Alabama (-1,008) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Markets are holding relatively steady Thursday morning:

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.

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