WASHINGTON (9/30/13)--Initial U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell for the week ended Sept. 21 to the lowest level in nearly six years, indicating progress in the labor market, after recent data irregularities from two states in reporting claims (The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg.com, The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com Sept. 26).
Initial claims--a proxy for layoffs--declined 5,000 for the week, to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Fewer job cuts could indicate employers are more positive about the outlook for consumer demand, Bloomberg said.
Larger gains in consumer spending--which constitutes 70% of the U.S. economy--will require more income growth and further employment advances, Bloomberg added.
The drop-off in claims suggests ongoing improvement in the labor market and indicates that employers are slightly more optimistic about the outlook for the economy, Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TID Securities USA LLC in New York, told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, continuing claims for unemployment benefits increased 35,000--to 2.82 million--for the week ended Sept. 14--the first rise in a month.