Bloomberg (07/26/12) Lorraine Woellert
The number of people who filed applications for unemployment benefits fell by 35,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 353,000, marking the third straight week of sharp swings, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Economists forecasted 380,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
DOL says changes in the annual auto plant shutdowns that occur this time of year have made it difficult to adjust the data for seasonal variations. Auto manufacturers used to schedule brief shutdowns of plants every July to retool for new models, but the size of temporary layoffs has varied widely since the industry was bailed out several years ago. That makes the claims report especially volatile in July and less useful in gauging labor-market trends.