U.S. initial jobless claims down to seven-year low due to technical problems

WASHINGTON, (PNA/Xinhua) — The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid edged down to the lowest level in more than seven years last week due to technical problems, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

In the week ending Sept. 7, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 31,000 to 292,000, the lowest since April 2006, from the previous week’ s unrevised figure of 323,000.

The surprising drop was mainly due because of upgrading computer systems in two states last week that delayed the processing of applications, according to the Labor Department spokesman.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, declined by 7,500 to 321,250, the fewest since October 2007, and stayed below the benchmark level of 375,000, which indicates a sustained recovery in employment.

The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 31 stood at 2.953 million, down 24,750 from the previous week.

The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.3 percent in August, the lowest since December 2008, and the economy added 169,000 jobs in the month.