Jobless claims down to 383,000 last week
Initial jobless claims fell about 8.6% last week coming in below most analysts' estimates and dropping to the lowest level since the summer of 2008. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Feb. 5 decreased by 36,000 to 383,000. Initial claims for the prior week were 419,000, which was revised upward a few thousand by the Labor Department. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected jobless claims to come in at 412,000 with a range of estimates between 385,000 to 450,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 410,000 for last week. Economists polled by MarketWatch also projected claims to come in at 410,000 claims. New claims came in below 400,000, which is the level most economists believe indicates the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, decreased by 16,000 to 415,500 from an upwardly revised average of 431,500. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained at 3.1% for the week ended Jan. 29, unchanged from the prior week, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits rose to more than 9.4 million for the week ended Jan. 22. Write to Jason Philyaw.