WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits were exactly as expected in the October 26 week, falling by 10,000 to 340,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

A Labor Department analyst said California, which has been working off a backlog from computer issues since September, reported no carryover of claims from the previous week and that the October 26 week's claims from California were only those collected in that week.

The analyst said that seasonal adjustment factors had expected a 5.2% rise in unadjusted claims, or roughly 16,119, in the October 26 week. Instead, unadjusted claims rose only 1.9%, or 6,064, to 317,580. That level is still well below the 339,917 level reported in the comparable week a year ago.

The initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average rose 8,000 to 356,250 in the October 26 week, still impacted by the initial run up in claims in October 5 week that resulted from the California backlog and the government shutdown. With both of those special factors rolling off the 4-week average starting with next week's claims, the average should begin to decline, all else being equal.

The state data released for the October 19 week indicated unadjusted initial claims increased in 5 states and declined in 48 states, with no states unchanged. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands are included in this data.

The number of Federal Government workers that filed for claims, a figure that is not included in the headline data, fell 29,713 to 14,423 in the October 19 week. The shutdown was settled during that week.

The level of continuing claims came in at 2.881 million after seasonal adjustment in the October 19 week, a rise of 31,000 from the previous week.

The level of unadjusted continuing claims jumped 72,113 to 2,523,509 in the October 19 week, still below the 2,837,543 level in the comparable week a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment was unchanged at 2.2% in the October 19 week, below the seasonally adjusted 2.5% rate in the comparable week a year earlier.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits claims fell 6,730 to 1,318,237 in the October 12 week.

There were 77,551 Federal Government employees receiving benefits in the October 12 week, up 32,741. These filings are separate from the headline count and represent the last full week of the shutdown

The Labor Department reported that a total of 3,896,214 persons claimed unemployment benefits in the October 12 week, a 39,532 rise from the previous week, but still well below the 5,035,367 persons in the comparable week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans claims, the EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

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