Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of first-time unemployment benefits claims in the U.S. last week increased less than analysts’ estimate as two states are trying to work through a backlog of applications as a result of changeover in the computer system.
In the week ended Sept. 14, initial jobless claims jumped by 15,000 to 309,000, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
A significant fall in claims figures two weeks ago brought it under the 300,000 level for the first time in seven years, though the decrease appeared to be related to processing delays instead of any sudden rise in the soft U.S. job market.
An official of the Labor Department said Nevada and California made changes to their computer systems at the start of September resulting to processing delays of several applications. The changes in the computer system also came during the long holiday weekend.
The applications could appear within the next few weeks and possibly help increase new claims figures. Due to the problems in California, the most populous state in the country, the number of claims fell below 300,000 in the first week of September, the first time it fell below the key level since 2006. Except during the best economic conditions, claims rarely fall below that mark.
In a survey by Bloomberg News, economists’ claims estimates ranged from 310,000 to 360,000 following the previous week’s 292,000 tally.