Initial claims for state unemployment rose 15,000 to 478,000 in the Oct. 18 holiday week, slightly higher than the 470,000 expected, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Seasonal factors had expected unadjusted claims to fall 11.3%, or roughly 51,000, in the holiday-shortened week, but instead unadjusted claims fell 8.6%, or 39,986. Unadjusted claims were 307,675 a year ago.

Labor reported that Hurricane Ike added 12,000 to unadjusted claims in the week. Excluding the storm’s impact, unadjusted claims would have fallen by about 51,000. This suggests that adjusted claims were roughly unchanged in the week when the Ike effect is excluded.

The reported level of initial claims in the Oct. 18 employment survey week was up 20,000 from the 458,000 level in the Sept. 13 survey week. The previous week’s initial claims level was revised to 463,000 from the previously reported 461,000 level.

The four-week moving average for initial claims in the Oct. 18 week fell 4,500 to 480,250 from 484,750 the week before.

The level of continuing claims fell 6,000 to 3.720 million in the Oct. 11 week.

— Market News International

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