Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Initial unemployment claims surprisingly fell in the week ended July 5, according to a Labor Department report released on Thursday, signaling a strengthening labor market.
Thursday’s report showed initial jobless claims dropped by 11,000 to 304,000, compared with the previous week’s unrevised figure of 315,000.
The unexpected modest rise surprised economists, who had forecast claims to remain flat from the previous week.
The decrease brought jobless claims back near to a seven-year low level of 298,000 during the May 10 week.
The Labor Department’s four-week moving average, a less volatile figure, also fell to 311,500, lower by 3,500 from the unrevised average of 315,000 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, continuing claims, which is the number of people receiving ongoing jobless benefits, climbed to 2.584 million in the week ended June 28 from the revised 2.574 million in the prior week.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 2,571,250, a decline by 7,750 from the prior week’s revised average of 2,579,000.