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Initial Jobless Claims Dip But Remain High

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 387,000 for the week ended June 16 from the prior week's 389,000, (revised from the originally reported 387,000), the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday. Economists had expected the report would show 386,000 initial claims.

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Drop in claims was the second in the last seven weeks. Upward revision was the seventh consecutive weekly upward change and the 19th upward revision in the last 20 weeks.

The drop in claims was just the second the last second weeks but the upward revision of the prior week's total was seventh consecutive upward change and the 19th in the last 20 weeks.

Continuing claims â€" reported on a one week lag â€" were unchanged at 3,299,000 after the prior week's total was revised upward from the originally reported 3,278,000.

The four week moving average of initial claims â€" which smooths the weekly fluctuations â€" rose 3,500 to 386,250.

The report on claims covered the same week used by the BLS to develop the monthly Employment Situation report. The report for June will be issued on July 6. From mid-May to mid-June, the four week moving average of initial claims rose 15,000 hinting at another weak jobs report for June.

The 4-week moving average for continuing claims was 3,293,750, an increase of 5,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,288,500.

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The report on initial and continuing claims came just two days after the ""Bureau of Labor Statistics"":http://www.bls.gov/ reported job openings fell 325,000 in April (the latest reporting period), the steepest month-month decline since September 2008.

The claims report continues to show labor market struggles. In the first 11 weeks of the quarter, first time claims have averaged 381,545, compared with 370,455 in the first 11 weeks of the first quarter.

That continuing claims did not decline suggests the impact of the federal legislation enacted in February capping state unemployment programs may have washed through the data. Congress enacted the cap when it approved an extension of the payroll tax reduction, cutting off benefits for some individuals. Continuing claims have dropped week-week in all but four of the 15 weeks since the legislation took effect.

Initial claims remain above 350,000, which economists consider a tipping point between an expanding and contracting jobs market. First time claims filings were last below 350,000 in March 2008.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs â€" reported on a two-week lag - for the week ending June 2 was 5,826,164, a decrease of 1,164 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.72 million people were officially counted as unemployed in May.

States reported 2,533,749 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending June 2, a decrease of 17,764 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,299,235 claimants in the comparable week in 2011.

According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 9 were in California (+12,987), Pennsylvania (+7,036), Texas (+4,028), Georgia (3,686), and North Carolina (+3,148), while the largest decreases were in Missouri (-438), Alaska (-126), Puerto Rico (-99), Nevada (-99), and Minnesota (-66).

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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