The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell marginally last week, but continues to point to steadily improving labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000 for the week ended June 21, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s claims were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless aid dipping to 310,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,000 to 314,250 last week. With the labor market normalizing, there is probably little room for claims to drop much further. The declining claims suggest a recent streak of payroll job gains is likely to be sustained.
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