Initial jobless claims hold steady at near six-year low

WASHINGTON -- Initial jobless claims last week held roughly steady at near a six-year low as reporting problems caused by computer upgrades in California and Nevada appeared to be fully resolved, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose to 308,000, up slightly from the previous week's revised figure of 307,000. Economists has expected the figure to rise to 313,000.


The post-recession low was 294,000 claims in the week that ended Sept. 7, but that was skewed by under-reporting from California and Nevada amid the computer problems.

The Labor Department said last week that those states had cleared their reporting backlog on first-time claims.

Next week's report probably will show a hike in claims as furloughed federal workers apply for unemployment benefits during the partial government shutdown.

The weekly jobless claims report likely is the only economic data the federal government will be releasing while the shutdown continues. 

The shutdown does not cause a lapse in payments for unemployment benefits, so the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration will continue providing services, such as ensuring transfers of money to states and compiling the weekly claims figures.

The monthly jobs report, which was to be released Friday, probably will be canceled if the shutdown continues, as expected, through Thursday. The Labor Department and Commerce Department have said they would not release other economic reports during the shutdown.