Initial claims for state unemployment benefits
declined 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week
ended Aug. 16, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more
applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to
300,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there were no
special factors influencing the state level data.
The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of
labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility,
rose 4,750 to 300,750. But at that level, it remains consistent
with solid job growth and claims are back at their pre-recession
The claims report covered the period during which the government
surveyed employers for August's nonfarm payrolls data. The
four-week average of claims fell 8,500 between the July and
August survey periods, suggesting another month of relatively
strong job gains.
The jobless claims report showed the number of people still
receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 49,000 to
2.50 million in the week ended Aug. 9. That was the lowest level
since June 2007.
The unemployment rate for people receiving jobless benefits was
1.9 percent for the sixth consecutive week.
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