In an unexpected development, first-time unemployment claims dropped for the second week in a row, this time by 21,000. Seasonally adjusted, there were 434,000 claims for the week ending Oct. 23.
That is the lowest number of claims for any week this year excluding the week ending July 10, which contained the Independence Day holiday when state offices were closed. Claims have been around 450,000 per week all year long.
An economist at Moody´s Analytics said that while the development is promising, it will not signify an improvement in the labor market unless it continues in the weeks ahead. The October jobs report will be released Nov. 5.