Initial claims for state unemployment insurance fell less than anticipated last week but the backlog of application in California caused by computer problems continued to plague the count.
The number of new filings dropped by 12,000 to 350,000 said the Labor Department in Washington D.C. Economist surveyed by Reuters had forecast 340,000 new applications. Claims for the prior week were revised 4,000 higher to 362,000.
The four week moving average rose 10,750 to 348,250, the highest reading since ether first week of July.
Technical problems with a new computer system in California caused the filing of many applications to be delayed over teh past few weeks. Those claims are now working their way through the process according to a Labor Department analyst, and are distorting the actual number of claims each week.
The total number of people receiving first-time unemployment benefits declined by 8,000 to 2.87 million in the week of October 12th. Those who have run through their eligibility and are now collecting emergent or supplemental payments dropped 54,200 to 1.33 million in the week of October 5th.
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