Initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 13 came in at 388,000, up 46,000 from the previous week, when some had heralded a relatively low number. Some analysts say the numbers from the most recent week and the previous one were skewed by start-of-quarter factors.
These newest numbers bump the four-week moving average up to 365,500, around 750 more claims than the previous average. According to economists, weekly initial claims of less than 400,000 serve as evidence of an improving labor market.
The week's 388,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims are down from the prior year's 402,000.
Federal government cuts continue to affect unemployment, with 16,900 former federal civilian employees and 38,500 newly discharged veterans claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the last week of September (the most recent available data).