WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid continued to fall last week, but remained elevated well above the pre-shutdown level, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
In the week ending Oct. 19, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits edged down by 12,000 to 350,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 362,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, rose by 10,750 to 348,250, the highest since early July.
Claims in California remained elevated for the third consecutive week as the state continued to work through the backlog, said a Labor Department spokesman.
Last week's figure also covered the final days of the 16-day partial federal government shutdown starting on Oct. 1. Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Tuesday the government shutdown has cut 0.25 percentage point off the fourth-quarter economic growth and cost the country 120, 000 jobs in October.
The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Oct. 12 stood at 2.874 million, down 8,000 from the previous week.
The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.2 percent in September, with 148,000 jobs added to the economy, the Labor Department said Tuesday.