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Jobless Claims Hit 7-Year Low, But Data Weren't Complete

At a Target store in San Francisco last month, job seekers waited in line.
Justin Sullivan
/
Getty Images
At a Target store in San Francisco last month, job seekers waited in line.

A plunge in the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits last week — to a 7-year-low 292,000 — can be partly explained away by "technical problems," Reuters writes:

A Labor Department analyst "said the majority of the decline appeared to be because two states were upgrading their computer systems and did not process all the claims they received during the week. One of the states was large and the other small, the analyst said."

At 292,000, claims were down 31,000 from the previous week and were the lowest since the week ended April 1, 2006. That was well before the U.S. economy officially slipped into its most recent recession, in December 2007.

We'll watch for next Thursday's report on claims to see how much this latest number is revised.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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