WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000. But the drop was mostly because of technical issues in two states that delayed the processing of applications.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell to 321,250, the lowest in six years.
A government spokesman says the steep drop occurred because two states upgraded their computer systems last week and did not process all their applications. "This is not necessarily an indication of a change in labor market conditions," he said.
The spokesman would not identify the states, but said one was small and one large. Big states like California and Texas can swing the weekly data by 10,000 or more.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.