Jobless claims inch higher to 393,000
The number of initial jobless claims rose slightly last week, but stayed below 400,000 for the fourth straight week. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Nov. 19 increased to 393,000 from 391,000 the previous week, which was revised upward by 3,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 390,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 375,000 and 400,000. 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, declined by 3,250 claims to 394,250 from the prior week's slightly revised 397,500. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended Nov. 12 remained unchanged at 2.9%, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Nov. 5 declined to about 6.73 million from 6.77 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw.