(By Balaseshan) The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits dropped sharply last week, matching economists' expectations, though the numbers remained elevated due to effects of superstorm Sandy.
Jobless claims decreased 41,000 to 410,000 for the week ended Nov. 17 from the previous week's revised figure of 451,000.
Applications for jobless claims have remained above 400,000 in successive weeks for the first time in over a year.
The four-week moving average for claims - a less volatile measure than the weekly figures - increased 9,500 to 396,250 last week, a data from the Labor Department showed.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 10 declined 30,000 to 3.337 million, while economists projected a decrease to 3.345 million. The 4-week moving average was about 3.285 million, up 19,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.265 million.
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The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% for the week ending November 10, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 397,671 in the week ending November 17, a decrease of 80,872 from the previous week.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3% during the week ending November 10, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs fell 36,314 to 2.926 million from the preceding week.
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The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending November 10 were in New York (up 43,956), New Jersey (up 31,094), California (up 24,693), Pennsylvania (up 7,037), and Connecticut (up 1,808), while the largest decreases were in Ohio (down 4,996), Indiana (down 877), Arkansas (down 665), Massachusetts (down 607), and Maryland (down 576).