US jobless claims drop in latest week


Fewer Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week, but the number of workers remaining jobless hit its highest level in more than 18 years, a US government report said today.

The number of initial jobless claims fell by 46,000 to a seasonally adjusted 450,000 for the week ended November 3rd, the Labor Department said.

But the number of workers staying on jobless benefits reached its highest level since April 23rd, 1983, when the economy was struggling out of recession.

These so-called continued jobless claims rose by 34,000 to 3.72 million for the week ended October 27th, the most recent week for which the data was available, the department said.

"Folks who have lost their jobs are having a great difficulty finding new jobs. That's something we haven't seen since the last recession," said Mr Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wachovia Securities.

"Many of the layoffs that we've been reading in the papers lately haven't even taken effect," he said.