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Jobless claims fall 13,000 to 403,000

Jobless claims fall 13,000 to 403,000 (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell in the latest week but remained above 400,000 for the second straight week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The number of initial claims in the week ending April 16 fell 13,000 to 403,000. This is the first time that claims have remained above 400,000 for two weeks since late January. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists surveyed by MarketWatch was for claims to fall to 390,000. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, rose by 2,250 to 399,000. This is the highest level since the week ended Feb. 19. Claims in the previous week were revised to an increase of 31,000 to 416,000 compared with the initial estimate of an increase of 27,000 to 412,000. The Labor Department also reported that the number of Americans who continue to receive state unemployment checks decreased by 7,000 to 3.70 million in the week ended April 9. This is the lowest level since September 2008. The four-week average remained at its lowest level since October 2008.