Unemployment Claims Fall, Barely

The Labor Department figures say that initial claims still remain above 400,000

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On Thursday morning, the Labor Department released the latest figures for jobless claims filings and this week's numbers have mostly received not-so-good, not-so-bad reactions. The initial unemployment benefit claims fell by 1,000 to 404,000. From Labor's release:

In the week ending October 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 404,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 405,000. The 4-week moving average was 408,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 415,000.

CNN Money reminds us that 400,000 is the magic number to watch for. If initial claims go below that level, it's an indication that the U.S.'s dreadful 9.1 percent unemployment rate is easing. So, we're still a bit above that number. But one economist who spoke to Reuters, Guy Berger, sees a bit of optimism in the fog of our current economic reality: "Three consecutive weeks of claims around 400,000 are somewhat reassuring, as they suggest that layoffs remain contained despite high uncertainty in the economy."

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