Jobless claims in US rise by 53,000; unemployment ticks down

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a weekly news conference Thursday Oct. 1 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington

Between March 15 and October 10, the state labor department paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits, it said.

US stock futures and 10-year Treasury yields remained lower after the report, while the dollar was higher.

That is 53,000 claims above the prior week's level.

For the latest week, initial state claims were expected to total 825,000 and continuing claims to fall to 10.6 million, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Now that the supplemental federal jobless aid authorized by Congress in the spring has expired, jobless applicants receive $270 or less per week in assistance from the state. A deal that had provided them with billions of funding in exchange for keeping workers on the payroll expired at the end of September. The PEUC figure rose by 818,054 to 2.78 million in the week ended September 26, on an unadjusted basis. Until a month ago, each subsequent week had seen claims decline.

The jump brought the levels of initial claims back to where they were in late August, and remained above the single worst week of the 2008-2010 global financial crisis, the last economic downturn.

The 4-week moving average, which may be a more reliable measure of the health of the jobs market because it smoothes out week-to-week volatility, rose to 866,250, which is 8,000 above the previous week's revised average.

Prior to the pandemic, the Tennessee Department of Labor typically reported fewer than 3,000 initial claims per week. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,250 from 858,250. These figures aren't adjusted for seasonal trends, so the government reports them separately from the traditional jobless claims. It indicates that those who have lost their jobs are finding new work.

More than 800,000 New Jersey workers will begin seeing federal unemployment benefits deposited as a lump sum in their bank accounts or debit cards early next week, Gov.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs and have been closely watched as a signal for how the pandemic is influencing the economy. The federal unemployment rate was 7.9% last month.

The weak economic figures pose a challenge to President Trump in the final weeks of the campaign, particularly as many economists say they are the result of a pandemic that the US has yet to get under control.