Weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since April, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.
The initial claims for weekly jobless benefits dropped to 405,000, down 22,000 from the previous week and approaching the 400,000 level economists say claims must drop below to put a dent in unemployment. Economists surveyed by Reuters had predicted a smaller drop to 415,000.
The Minnesota state government shutdown contributed to this week’s elevated claims level. According to the Labor Department, approximately 11,500 of Minnesota’s reported initial claims were from state employees filing as a result of the shutdown.
The four-week moving average, a less-volatile gauge of the labor market, decreased just 3,750 to 423,250 last week, suggesting there is still a way to go before the job market rebounds.