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Initial Jobless Claims Down from Prior Week, Still High

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 387,000 for the week ended June 23, from the prior week's 392,000, (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.


The drop in claims was first in three weeks, but more significant was the increase in the prior week's report â€" matching the 392,000 claims recorded for the week ended April 21 which had been the highest since last November.

Continuing claims â€" reported on a one week lag â€" dropped to 3,296,000 from the prior week's 3,311,000 â€" revised upward from the originally reported 3,299,000.

The four week moving average of initial claims â€" which smooths the weekly fluctuations â€" fell 750 to 386,750. It had been at the highest level of the year.

The four week moving average of continuing claims fell 15,000 to 3,296,000.

The revised data 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 12,000 hinting at another weak jobs report for June.

The four week moving average for continuing claims rose 38,000 from mid-May to mid-June, the first increase since the change from mid-August to mid-September last year.

The claims report continues to show labor market struggles. First-time unemployment claims have topped 380,000 for five straight weeks for the first time since last fall when they were generally declining. This streak appears to be taking place when initial claims are slowly increasing.

That continuing claims still reflects the impact of the federal legislation enacted in February capping state unemployment programs. 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 five of the 16 weeks since the legislation took effect.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs â€" reported on a two-week lag -- for the week ending June 9 was 5,890,091, an increase of 71,724 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.72 million people were officially counted as unemployed in May.

States reported 2,645,517 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending June 9, an increase of 111,768 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,300,706 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 16 were in Pennsylvania (+4,656), New Jersey (+3,907), Maryland ( +2,624), Florida (+2,528), and Puerto Rico (+1,533), while the largest decreases were in California (-8,016), New York (-3,018), Georgia (-2,160), Illinois (-1,996), and Missouri (-1,339).

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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