Claims for unemployment insurance benefits grew more slowly than expected last week, giving a glimmer of hope that U.S. labor market conditions are improving.
The four-week moving average of claims fell by 4,000 last week to 414,000 and the number of people still receiving benefits under regular State programs after an initial week of aid dropped 52,000 to 3.7 million in the week that ended Sept. 24, according to CNBC .
Initial claims for State unemployment benefits climbed 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, according to the Labor Department, from a revised 395,000 the prior week — the numbers are lower than the expected 410,000 that economists predicted in a recent Reuters poll.
Reuters also reported that after a stalemate in August, non-farm payrolls may have increased by about 60,000 last week; the gain is most likely reflected in the return of about 45,000 Verizon Communications employees who have been on strike.
The total number of Americans on unemployment dropped by 123,009 in the past month, down to 6.86 million, according to the article.
Despite the marginal gains in employment markets, CNBC reports that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that the U.S. economy is “close to faltering” and that the central bank will take more steps to try to create growth.