New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected in the week ended June 2nd, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.
The figures put the level of initial jobless claims at 377,000 for the week, a drop of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level of 389,000.
While the previous week's figure was upwardly revised from the 383,000 initially reported, the latest week's number still falls below the 379,000 expected by most economists.
The four-week moving average of new claims, a figure that reduces some of the week-to-week volatility in the reports, ticked up slightly, rising by 1,750 to 377,750 from the previous week's revised average of 376,000.
Labor Department officials said that because of the Memorial Day holiday falling during the week of the report, seasonal factors had predicted a 4.3 percent drop in new claims.
However, the weekly data actually showed a larger 7.0 percent drop in new claims, bringing the seasonally adjusted figures to the reported level.
The slightly better than expected weekly data will likely do little to reassure markets spooked by the release of monthly figures last week that showed new job creation in the U.S. economy slowing to an anemic rate of just 69,000 new jobs for the month of May.
The total number of people claiming unemployment insurance, a figure known as continuing claims, rose to a seasonally adjusted level of 3.293 million for the week ended May 26th, an increase of 34,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.259 million.
The four-week average of continuing unemployment claims came in at 3,279,500, up 11,500 from the previous week's revised average of 3,268,000.
by RTT Staff Writer
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