WASHINGTON (10/17/14)--Initial claims for unemployment have dropped to levels not seen since the turn of the millennium, falling by 23,000 claims to 264,000 total for the week ending Oct. 11, according to numbers released by the Department of Labor Thursday (Economy.com Oct. 16).
The labor department did not specify a reason for the dramatic decline in claims. The four-week moving average, which should smooth out any drastic spikes in the data, also fell to its lowest reading since 2000.
Continuing claims, or those filing for unemployment benefits for the second straight week or more, edged up by 7,000 for the week ending Oct. 4. The four-week moving average for continuing claims, however, has fallen slightly from the previous four weeks.
"The low rate of unemployment insurance claims suggests that October payroll figures could be stronger than the expected number, from 220,000 to 250,000," said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "Declining layoffs suggest that demand is strong enough to maintain business staffing."
"The low claims figures may also indicate that fewer unemployed workers are bothering to file for claims as confidence in the labor market improves," Koropeckyj added. "Workers may believe that they can easily find new work."
Unadjusted claims for all unemployment benefits programs numbered 2.088 million for the week ending Sept. 27, and the unemployment insurance rate remained at the previous week's level of 1.8%.