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Jobless Claims Fell in Latest Week

November 14, 2002
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Initial claims for U.S. jobless benefits posted a second straight decline in the week ended Nov. 9, the government said on Thursday, in a sign that the tight job market may be loosening up.

The Labor Department (news - web sites) said jobless claims dipped by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week. The previous week's claims total was revised upward, however, to 396,000 from the initially reported 390,000. The latest week's numbers came in below Wall Street analysts' projections of 395,000 claims.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered by some to be a more reliable indicator of trends in the report, also fell to 396,750 in the Nov. 9 week from a revised 403,250 the prior week, bringing it to its lowest level since the Aug. 24 week.

The drop in the four-week moving average broke a 10-week run above the 400,000 watermark, a level economists view as an indication of a lackluster labor market.

The Nov. 9 week's numbers may be more subject than usual to revisions ahead, as a week shortened by the Columbus Day holiday gave states less time to process claims. Data from shortened weeks are often subject to revision.

The number of continued claims, measuring the number of people drawing benefits for more than a single week, rose in the Nov. 2 week, increasing to 3.646 million, their highest level since the Oct. 5 week.

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