The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless aid fell by a more-than-expected 6,000 last week, government data on Thursday showed, while the four-week moving average of claims rose to a six-month high.
The Labor Department said initial claims for state insurance benefit totaled 327,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ending Oct. 27 after an upwardly revised 333,000 the prior week. This had previously been reported as 331,000 claims.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected 330,000 claims last week. The data was collected after the sample period for the monthly employment report, forecast to show 80,000 new non-farm jobs were created in October when it is released on Friday, holding the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.7 percent.
The four-week average of weekly claims, which helps smooth out fluctuations to expose the underlying jobs trend, increased 1,750 to 327,000, the highest reading since the week ending April 28, when they were 328,750, the department said.
A Labor Department official said that there were no special factors in connection with last week's data, and that California reported fewer than 1,000 claims directly attributed to the wildfires to hit that state late last month.
California reported a total of 7,027 new layoffs in the week ending Oct. 20, with layoffs in construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Michigan reported almost 5,000 fewer claims thanks to fewer layoffs in the automobile industry.
The number of so-called continuing claims rose by 65,000 to 2.59 million in the week ended Oct. 20, the latest period for which figures were available. The continuing claims total compared with economists' forecasts for 2.54 million claims.