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Jobless Claims  
Released On 10/8/2009 8:30:00 AM For wk10/3, 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level551 K540 K540 K to 556 K521 K
4-week Moving Average - Level539.75 K

Fewer workers are filing for unemployment claims in what is encouraging news for the economic outlook. Initial claims fell significantly in the Oct. 3 week, down 33,000 to a 521,000 level that is much better than expectations (prior week revised 3,000 higher to 554,000). The four-week average is at 539,750, down 9,000 in the week. Continuing claims also fell, down 72,000 in data for the Sept. 26 week to 6.040 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers, as high as 5.2 percent in June, slipped another tenth in the week to 4.5 percent. Levels in this report are at their lowest since the first quarter. Initial reaction was very limited, perhaps because improvement in this report during September didn't pan out to improvement for the monthly employment report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims for the week ending September 26 rose 17,000 to 551,000 and the prior week was revised 4,000 higher to 534,000. But the four-week average dipped nearly 25,000 to 548,000, reflecting solid improvement from prior weeks.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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