Low U.S. jobless claims
underscore labor market strength
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[July 07, 2016]
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - The number
of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last
week, offering further confirmation that the labor market remains on
solid footing despite tepid job gains in May.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 16,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 254,000 for the week ended July 2, the Labor
Department said on Thursday. The drop left claims close to a 43-year
low of 248,000 touched in mid-April.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more
applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by
Reuters had forecast initial claims rising to 270,000 in the latest
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a
healthy labor market, for 70 straight weeks, the longest stretch
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure
of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell
2,500 to 264,750 last week.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors
influencing last week's claims data. However, claims for Hawaii,
Kansas, Nebraska, Puerto Rico, Virginia and Wyoming were estimated
because of the Independence Day holiday on Monday.
Last week's claims report has no impact on June's employment report,
which is scheduled for release on Friday. Claims were low through
the month, suggesting job gains probably picked up in June after
increasing only 38,000 in May, the smallest gain since September
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A man holds his briefcase while waiting in line during a job fair in
Melville, New York in this July 19, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Shannon
According to a Reuters survey of economists, non-farm payrolls likely increased
175,000 last month. The unemployment rate is forecast rising to 4.8 percent in
June from an 8-1/2-year low of 4.7 percent in May.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an
initial week of aid dropped 44,000 to 2.12 million in the week ended June 25.
The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims rose 3,000 to 2.15
((Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci))
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