(By Balaseshan) The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits last week were fewer than forecast to reach a five-year low, a government data showed, pointing to a modest improvement of the labor market.
Jobless claims fell 37,000 to 335,000 last week from the previous week's revised figure of 372,000, while economists projected a decline to 365,000 applications.
The four-week moving average for claims - a less volatile measure than the weekly figures - declined 6,750 to 359,250 for the week ending January 12, a data from the Labor Department showed.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 5 increased 87,000 to 3.214 million, while economists projected a rise to 3.159 million. The 4-week moving average was about 3.195 million, down 6,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.201 million.
[Related -Personal Consumption Spending Expected To Be Flat In January]
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% for the week ending January 5, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 555,708 in the week ending January 12, an increase of 2,360 from the previous week.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0% during the week ending January 5, a rise of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs rose 170,067 to 3.85 million from the preceding week.
[Related -China's Rate Cut Insufficient - Investors Expect More]
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 5 were in New York (up 37,189), Georgia (up 15,354), North Carolina (up 13,606), California (up 8,691), and Texas (up 8,669), while the largest decreases were in Michigan (down 12,536), New Jersey (down 5,530), Oregon (down 5,471), Ohio (down 4,915), and Kentucky (down 4,257).