Whoops! Initial jobless claims slump as two U.S. states underreport

Whoops! Initial jobless claims slump as two U.S. states underreport

Jobless claims in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest level since April 2006 as work on computer systems in two states caused those employment agencies to report fewer applications.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 31,000 to 292,000 in the week ended Sept. 7, which also included the Labor Day holiday, according to Labor Department data released today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 330,000 applications. An agency spokesman said that the computer work played a major role in the drop in claims.

Fewer dismissals would be a precursor to an increase in hiring once demand strengthens and the effects of federal budget reductions become less pronounced. While the pace of job cuts has waned since the end of last year, faster payroll and income growth would help propel the consumer spending that accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

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