RTTNews - While the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended August 29th, the decrease followed an upward revision to previous week's initial jobless claims.
The report showed that jobless claims edged down to 570,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 574,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 564,000 from the 570,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims have stabilized in recent weeks, well off the highs set in the Spring but still at a relatively high level indicating continued weakness in the labor market.
The Labor Department noted that the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 571,250 from the previous week's revised average of 567,250.
Additionally, the report showed that continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose to 6.234 million in the week ended August 22nd, the most recent week for which the government has data.
The closely watched continuing claims number rebounded after coming in at 6.142 million in the week ended August 15th, its lowest level since early April.
With weekly jobless claims hovering at a relatively high level, the report may raise some concerns about the Labor Department's monthly employment report due to be released on Friday.
Economists currently expect the monthly report to show that employment fell by 225,000 jobs in August following a decrease of 247,000 jobs in July. At the same time, the unemployment rate is expected to edge up to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent in the previous month.
On Wednesday, payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (ADP) released a report showing that private sector employment fell by much more than expected in the month of August, although the report still showed a slowdown in the pace of job losses.
ADP said that non-farm private employment fell by 298,000 jobs in August following a revised decrease of 360,000 jobs in July. Economists had expected a decrease of about 246,000 jobs compared to the loss of 371,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
While employment fell by more than economists had been anticipating, the loss of jobs in August still marked the smallest drop in employment since September of 2008.
Subsequently, ADP said that employment losses are clearly diminishing, although it noted that employment usually trails overall economic activity and is still likely to decline for at least several more months.
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