More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as California continued to work through a backlog, indicating it will take time to gauge the impact of the federal shutdown.
Jobless claims decreased by 15,000 to 358,000 in the week ended Oct. 12 from a revised 373,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 335,000. Applications in California remained elevated and last week’s total also included some non-federal workers dismissed due to the gridlock in Washington, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released.
The legislation passed by Congress last night to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into 2014 will bring hundreds of thousands of federal workers back to their jobs and may also prompt the recall of non-federal contractors that had been let go. Even so, labor market progress may be slowed by the infighting in Washington as employers wait to see how the economy has been affected.