(By Balaseshan) The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in two months, a government data showed, an indication of a modest improvement in the labor market.
Jobless claims fell 14,000 to 374,000 last week from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000, while economists projected a decline to 385,000 applications.
The four-week moving average for claims - a less volatile measure than the weekly figures - declined 1,500 to 385,750 last week, a data from the Labor Department showed.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 23 rose 4,000 to 3.306 million, while economists projected an advance to 3.300 million. The 4-week moving average was about 3.304 million, down 3,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.307 million.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% for the week ending June 23, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 367,331 in the week ending June 30, a decrease of 3,129 from the previous week.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending June 23, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs rose 20,442 to 3.134 million from the preceding week.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 23 were in California (up 8,239), New Jersey (up 4,894), Massachusetts (up 3,873), Michigan (up 3,692), and Connecticut (up 2,598), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (down 7,865), Maryland (down 2,265), Ohio (down 1,588), Wisconsin (down 1,544), and Georgia (down 1,398).