WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The number of U.S. people initially applying for unemployment aid last week dropped for the second straight week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits in the week ending Oct. 27 was 363,000, down 9,000 from the previous week's upwardly-revised figure.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, also declined to 367,250.
Jobless claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate. Applications have mostly stayed at or above that level since the spring, a level consistent with modest job growth.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Oct. 20 was 3.263 million, up 4,000 from the prior week.
In addition, a department spokesman said Superstorm Sandy had no direct effect on the figure of applications.
Though the downtrend of jobless claims is bringing new hope for a labor market recovery, the modest hiring is not enough to drag down the unemployment rate significantly, economists caution.
With only days to the presidential election, the labor market has been a top issue for voters.