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Jobless Benefits Tumble (But 70K Feds Applied During Shutdown?)

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug., 14, 2013, file photo, job seeker Kelsey Devoe, of Miramar, Fla., fills out a contact form at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. The Labor Department reports on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the third week of September on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Credit: AP

Shutdown or not, we’re here to bring you your weekly jobless benefits report.

Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 15,000 for the week ending Oct. 12, bringing the total to 358,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 373,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The figure was again distorted by California’s efforts to clear its backlogs.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 11,750, bringing the total to 336,500, up from the previous unrevised average of 324,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending October 5, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the report states.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 5 was 2,859,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,902,000. The four-week moving average was 2,875,750, an increase of 17,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,858,000,” it adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 5 were California (+33,654); Maryland (+4,609); Ohio (+4,122); Michigan (+4,066); and Virginia (+3,927).

Meanwhile, Oregon (-149); Puerto Rico (-77); Missouri (-50); and Nebraska (-26) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Applications jumped by 15,000 two weeks ago due to the partial government shutdown. Furloughed private sector workers flocked to sign up for jobless benefits (a spokesman last week wouldn’t say exactly how big the impact was).

Roughly 70,000 furloughed federal workers applied for jobless benefits during the week ended Oct. 5. However, those numbers aren’t included in the overall totals, the Associated Press noted.

Markets aren’t really concerned with the jobless benefits report. They’re just happy Congress passed a bill Wednesday to reopen the government and avoid a debt-ceiling breach:

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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