It’s time once again to turn our attention to our weekly jobless benefits claim:
Applications for jobless benefits fell by 10,000 for the week ending Oct. 26, bringing the total to 340,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 350,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
Previous benefits reports had been distorted thanks to the 16-day partial government shutdown and California reporting distorted claims data due in part to a systems upgrade. However, the most recent report on the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits is largely free of those previous distortions, a government spokesman told the Associated Press.
"Applications are now close to the pre-recession levels that were reached in August, before California's computer problems distorted the data," the AP reported.
The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 8,000, bringing the total to 356,250, up from the previous unrevised average of 348,250.
“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending October 19, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the report reads.
“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 19 was 2,881,000, an increase of 31,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,850,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,878,750, a decrease of 10,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,888,750,” it adds.
The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 19 were Kentucky (+96), Maine (+49), Delaware (+45), Minnesota (+39), and North Dakota (+32).
Meanwhile, in California (-13,033), Pennsylvania (-3,240), Maryland (-3,222), Illinois (-2,897), and New York (-2,810) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.
Markets are still dealing with the Federal Reserve's Wednesday announcement that it will continue its easy money policies until unemployment hits at least 6.5 percent:
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This post has been updated.