New claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week indicating modest signs of improvement in the labor market since the beginning of the year.
The Department of Labor said initial jobless claims for the week ended Oct. 15 fell 6,000 to 403,000, while economists expected a drop to 400,000.
The 4-week moving average - considered a more reliable measure of labor market trends - was 403,000, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 409,250.
The number of continuing unemployment benefit totaled 3,719,000 in the week ended Oct. 8, up 25,000 from the previous week.
“Recent data on payrolls and retail sales had "effectively removed the double-dip scenario for the US", a Reuters report quoted Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York
as saying."The weekly fall in jobless claims adds to this, and the four-week moving average continues to drift lower. But we are still a long distance from the 200,000 new jobs a month we need for a sustainable improvement in the unemployment rate," he said