Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Claims for unemployment benefits by the newly-laid off held steady last week at 351,000, the Labor Department announced.

That’s still a four-year low.

This caused the four-week moving average, which smooths out fluctuations, to drop 7,000 to 359,000.

“It’s broadly in line with recent U.S. data showing a gradually improving economic backdrop,” Omer Esiner, a market analyst, told Reuters.

For the week ended Feb. 4, the most recent week data were available, 7.5 million people were collecting some form of unemployment assistance, a decrease of 178,000 from the prior week and more than 1.5 million fewer people than a year ago.

That included 3.9 million receiving regular unemployment benefits, 113,000 fewer than the previous week, and 2.9 million on emergency unemployment compensation, an 83,000 decrease from the prior week.

Publish date: February 23, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT