Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of applications for first-time jobless benefits in the U.S. dropped last week, which shows that during the partial government shutdown most employers kept their payrolls steady.
In the week ended Oct. 19, unemployment claims fell by 12,000 to 350,000 from a revised 362,000 in the prior period, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists called for a decline to 340,000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
Applications in the state of California remained high and analysts were not able to tell exactly how many non-federal workers sought for unemployment claims due to the government shutdown, according to a Labor Department spokesman.
The latest result represents the second consecutive week of falling claims, a sign that private-sector employment was hit by few direct losses during the 16-day shutdown that started Oct. 1.
A lesser-than-estimate job additions in September may reflect the hesitance of private employers to ramp up hiring as Washington politicians are locked in a heated battle over the budget and now getting ready for fresh round of debates.
Thursday’s report, however, does not include furloughed federal workers, who apply for jobless benefits claims through another program.
Economists were unable to determine the exact impact of the shutdown to the U.S. labor market as well as the broader economy. About 800,000 federal employees were furloughed during the federal government’s partial shutdown.