The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a second straight week last week, pointing to a steady pace of job gains.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall slightly to 345,000 last week.
The four-week moving average of new claims, which is considered a better measure of labor market conditions, dipped 750 to 345,500.
A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there was nothing unusual in the state-level data. After making progress early in the year, claims have not changed much over the past months.
Last week’s claims data has no bearing on the government’s closely watched employment report for June as it falls outside the survey period. The report will be released on Friday.
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