Jobless Claims Fell (Yeah) But It May Just Be a Computer Glitch (Boo)

Progress not as dramatic as initially thought

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Applications for unemployment insurance fell 31,000 to 292,000 for the week ending in Sept. 7, the Labor Department reports. But this drop may be the result of computer maintenance that delayed application processing in two states.

A government spokesperson said that two states, one large and one small, upgraded their computer systems that week, which means that they did not submit unemployment data, the AP reports.

But there still may be reason for optimism: The four-week moving average of jobless claims, which is less volatile than the weekly figures, fell to a six-year low of 321,250 last week, according to the Labor Department.

Four years after the Great Recession, unemployment rates are at 7.3% — the lowest since December 2008, but not low enough to spur wages or significantly boost the economy, which grew only 2.5% in the most recent quarter.