Fewer Americans Seek Jobless Benefits

WASHINGTON (October 31, 2013) The number of workers applying for unemployment benefits fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, a sign that employers are laying off very fewer workers, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

The Labor Department's first-time application figures were largely free of the distortions that elevated the data earlier in the month.

The 16-day partial government shutdown and backlogs in California due to computer upgrades still inflated the four-week average.

The average rose 8,000 to 356,250, the highest since April.

Still, those distortions are no longer affecting the weekly data, a government spokesman said.

The partial shutdown ended Oct. 16.

Applications are now close to the pre-recession levels that were reached in August, before California's computer problems distorted the data.


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