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Initial Jobless Claims Rebound to 4-Week High

First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 34,000 for the week ended July 14 to 386,000 - the highest level in four weeks - the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 365,000 initial claims. The prior week’s total was revised up to 352,000 from the originally reported 350,000.


Continuing claims â€" reported on a one-week lag â€" rose 1,000 to 3,314,000 from the prior week's 3,313,000, revised from the originally reported 3,304,000.

Initial claims had plunged in the week ended July 7 to a four year low as seasonal adjustments â€" used to correct for sharp changes in raw data due to recurring annual phenomena â€" offset annual furloughs of auto workers when plants re-tooled for the new model year. The increase in claims â€" the largest weekly jump since the week ended April 30, 2011 -- was an expected rebound, though the adjustment factors continue to play a role. In the upcoming week adjustment factors â€" already published by the Labor Department â€" should push claims up higher.

Furloughed workers qualify for unemployment insurance artificially increasing claims without using a seasonal adjustment. Unadjusted claims jumped nearly 70,000 in the week ended July 7 and another 10,000 in the week ended July 14.


Unadjusted initial claims totaled 452,960 in the week ending July 14, an increase of 10,768 from the previous week. There were 470,086 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

This week's report covered the same period â€" the week of the month including the 12th calendar day â€" used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in deriving the monthly payroll jobs report and monthly unemployment rate. The Employment Situation report is scheduled for release August 3.

The sharp increase in initial claims reflected the holiday shortened week one week earlier. While newly unemployed individuals can file claims online even when office are closed, clerical staff is not available to process those filings and report them during holiday periods.

The four week moving average of initial claims â€" a statistical device used to smooth the more volatile weekly data -- fell 1,500 to 375,500 from 377,000.

The four week moving average of continuing claims rose 1,000 to 3,311,750.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs â€" reported on two week lag -- for the week ending June 30 was 5,752,116 a decrease of 121,985 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.749 million people were officially counted as unemployed in June.

States reported 2,524,363 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending June 30, a decrease of 81,924 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,154,001 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 July 7 were in New York (+22,336), Michigan (+7,602), Ohio (+5,976), Pennsylvania (+4,775), and Wisconsin (+4,615), while the largest decreases were in California (-9,016), New Jersey (-5,282), Connecticut (-917), Massachusetts (-716), and Oklahoma (-671).

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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