Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell 7.8% to 343,000 for the week ended Dec. 8, according to a Department of Labor report released today. These newest data represent the fourth straight week of jobless claims declines, after a 25% spike for the week ended Nov. 10.
The November spike resulted in large part from the effects of Hurricane Sandy on much of the Northeast, and this week's report provides increasing evidence that Sandy's long-term effects are waning. The four-week moving average fell by 27,000 to 381,500.
On a state-by-state basis, California's initial claims rose by 24,411 for the most recent week for which such data is available, followed by Pennsylvania's 14,636 increase and North Carolina's 13,961. California cited layoffs in the service, agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries, as well as an increase in claims that week due to Thanksgiving office closures the prior week. Pennsylvania listed construction and professional layoffs as two sectors hurt most, while North Carolina did not submit a comment.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate continues to hover at 2.5% for the week ending Dec. 1 (most recent data available), relatively unchanged since October .