UPDATE: Jobless claims drop 12,000 to 260,000 as disruptions from hurricanes ease
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
Initial claims for unemployment benefits revert to pre-storm lows
The numbers: Initial jobless claims, a tool to measure U.S. layoffs, fell by 12,000 to 260,000 at the end of September. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 265,000 in the week ended Sept. 30.
The more stable monthly average of claims declined by 9,500 to 268,250, a figure still inflated by hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.
The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, fell slightly to 1.94 million.
What happened: New claims are reverting to the low levels that prevailed before the recent hurricanes. Before the storms struck the number of Americans applying each week for unemployment benefits hovered around 235,000 and sat near a 45-year low.
Claims had shot up in September to almost 300,000 because many people in Florida and Texas were temporarily unable to get to work. Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders are now experiencing the same issue.