US jobless claims dip but stay high

Written by Associated Press | Washington | Updated: Oct 28 2011, 08:44am hrs
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week, though not enough to suggest that hiring is picking up. The labour department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits declined 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000. Thats the fourth drop in six weeks.

Still, the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 405,500. The average had fallen to a six-month low two weeks ago.

Despite the recent declines, applications are stuck above 400,000, where they have been for all but two weeks since March. Applications need to fall consistently below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They havent been below that level since February.

Meanwhile, the number of laid-off workers receiving benefits dropped to 3.65 million, the lowest level in three years.

Also on Thursday, the US government said the economy grew modestly over the summer after nearly stalling in the first six months of the year. It was lifted by stronger consumer spending and business investment.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5% in the July-September quarter.