Bloomberg (10/18/12) Shobhana Chandra
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits increased by 46,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week of Oct. 7-13, the U.S. Department of Labor Department said today, erasing the sharp drop from the prior week. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a rise in claims to 365,000. Claims had fallen two weeks ago to a four-year low, but the decline mainly stemmed from a statistical quirk in the data that often happens at the end of a quarter and it was not reflective of a rapidly improving labor market. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 342,000 from an original reading of 339,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, edged up by 750 to 365,500.