Initial jobless claims decreased a bit last week, but stayed higher than 400,000. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Oct. 15 fell to 403,000 from 409,000 the previous week, which was revised upward 5,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 400,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 397,000 and 410,000. Most economists believe weekly jobless claims lower than 400,000 indicate 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 6,250 claims to 403,000 from the prior week’s revised 409,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended Oct. 8 stayed at 2.9%, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Oct. 1 fell to less than 6.7 million from 6.82 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw

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