WASHINGTON (11/22/13)--The Labor Department was the bearer of moderately good news Thursday, one week outside the start of the holiday shopping season.
Department officials announced that initial jobless claims fell by 21,000 to 323,000 for the week ending November 16.
Five out of the last six weeks of Labor Department data releases have shown drops in initial jobless claims, pushing down the four week moving average down by 6,750 to 338,500 for the week ending Nov. 16.
Continuing claims did rise by 66,000 to 2.876 million for the week ending Nov. 9, wiping out gains made the previous week.
Moody's said that the drop in initial claims exceeded its analysts' expectations, although businesses continue to be reluctant to hire, in part because of uncertainty stemming from the next round of budget negotiations in Congress that are set to take place early next year (Economy.com Nov. 21).