U.S. jobless claims drop, but California backlog weighs on data
(Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped from a six-month high last week, but remained elevated as California continued to deal with a backlog related to computer problems.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 335,000 last week.
A Labor Department analyst said claims in California, which has experienced technical problems during a conversion to a new computer system, remained at similar levels as in the prior week.
There had not been a perceptible increase in filings last week from non-federal workers furloughed because of the just-ended government shutdown, the analyst said.
The 2-1/2 week partial shutdown of the federal government ended on Wednesday night after the U.S. Congress passed an 11th hour deal to temporarily fund the government through mid-January and to raise the country’s borrowing authority until February 7.
During the week ended October 5, the first week of the shutdown, there were 70,068 claims from furloughed federal workers. Claims for federal workers are reported separately and with a one-week lag.