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Initial Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

First-time claims for unemployment were unchanged at 374,000 for the week ended August 25, the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday after revising upward by 2,000 the prior week's originally reported 372,000 claims. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 370,000 initial claims.


Continuing claims â€" reported on a one-week lag â€" dipped 5,000 to 3,316,000 from the prior week's 3,321,000, revised from the originally reported 3,317,000.

This week's reports cover the same week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to generate the employment situation release reporting the unemployment rate. The BLS report will be published September 7. From mid-July to mid-August, first-time claims are down 14,000, but continuing claims â€" reflecting individuals unable to leave unemployment rolls â€" increased 25,000.

Though the report of first time claims was unchanged from the prior week, it is likely to show an increase as reports are generally revised upward. Of the 33 reports on initial claims this year, 30 have been revised to show more claims than first reported. If indeed the report is changed to show a higher number of initial claims, it would mark the third consecutive weekly increase and fourth in the last five weeks.

The four week moving average of first-time claims increased to 370,250, an increase of 1,500, the third increase in the last four weeks. The four-week moving average of continuing claims increased 7,500 to 3,321,500, the highest level since the beginning of April.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs â€" reported on two week lag -- for the week ending August 11 was 5,532,245, a decrease of 62,253 from the previous week. Most of the decline â€" 53,318 â€" came in programs sharply reduced by Congress as part of the negotiations to continue the payroll tax holiday. According to the latest BLS report, 12.794 million people were officially counted as unemployed in July.

States reported 2,273,317 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending August 11, a decrease of 53,318 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,118,042 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.

According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, largest increases in initial claims for the week ending August 18 were in Michigan (+2,383), Florida (+1,558), Colorado (+781), South Carolina (+774), and Texas (+517), while the largest decreases were in California (-5,549), Ohio (-1,379), Oregon (-1,098), Wisconsin (-539), and Virginia (-480).

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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