The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 10,000 last week, to 340,000 from 350,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.
Though it's the third straight week that claims have dropped, the number of applications is still within a range that signals a sluggish labor market. So Thursday's report would seem to be in line with Wednesday's news that private employers added only an estimated 130,000 jobs to their payrolls in October.
Because of the 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government, we won't get the always anxiously anticipated Bureau of Labor Statistics report on job growth and unemployment in October until next Friday — Nov. 8. The jobless rate stood at 7.2 percent in September.