Applications for unemployment insurance rose to a six-month high last week as computer problems in California inflated the weekly total but the underlying trend remained positive.
The number of Americans submitting initial claims for jobless benefits rose to 374,000 a gain of 66,000, according to the Labor Department in Washington today. It was the highest total since the week of March 29th. Economist had estimated 310,000 claims in a Reuter’s poll.
California accounted for about half the increase in claims. Technical problems in converting to a new computer system had postponed filings; resulting in a backlog of applications which hit the system all at once last week said a Labor Department spokesman.
In addition to the California bulge, there were 15,000 non-federal workers who were affected by the partial government shutdown said the department spokesman. Without those additions the total would have been 326,000.
The four week moving average, a more stable measure, increased to 325,000 a jump of 20,000 from the prior week. The trendof this gauge has been steadily down. In June the monthly average was 346, 600, in July 341,300, in August 332,000 and in September 312,700 the lowest in more than six years.
Chief Market Strategist
WorldWideMarkets Online Trading