The four-week running average preferred by analysts because it flattens volatility in the weekly number was 375,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised average.
For all programs, state and federal, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending Sept. 15 was 5,088,612, a decrease of 85,386 from the previous week. For the same week in 2011, there were 6,859,096 persons claiming benefits. Some of the drop is because claimants have found jobs, some because they have exhausted their benefits.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its politically important monthly jobs report Friday. Experts predict the likely gain in jobs for September was 113,000-118,000. That is just barely above the level needed to keep up with new additions to the working-age population. Automated Data Processing released its monthly report Wednesday showing a seasonally adjusted gain of 162,000 new private-sector jobs for the month ending Sept. 12. For the past six months, ADP has been reporting significantly more private jobs gains than the BLS.