- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2009

The number of first-time unemployment claims dropped to 530,000 last week, 1,000 fewer than the previous week’s unrevised figure of 531,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The agency also reported the number of laid-off workers continuing to file for benefits decreased by 148,000, to 5.8 million, in the week ending Oct. 17.

Analysts predicted a sharper drop in initial claims, but the decrease in continuing claims exceeded expectations.

The economy continues to show signs of recovering from the recession. The Commerce Department said Thursday the economy grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, but the growth has not been strong enough to prompt businesses to start rehiring.

The latest U.S. unemployment rate is 9.8 percent but is expected to crest at about 10 percent before the end of the year. The October rate will be released Nov. 6.

U.S. markets posted gains following the reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 110.86 points, to 9873.55, during late-morning trading. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500-stocks Index at 1,056.86, up 14.23 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 29.97 points, to 2,089.58.

Wisconsin had the largest decrease in claims, with 5,681. California had the biggest increase, with 5,774 claims.

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