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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Edge Down To 247,000

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits saw a modest decrease in the week ended July 8th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 247,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 250,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 245,000 from the 248,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 245,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 243,500.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 20,000 to 1.945 million in the week ended July 1st.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still rose to 1,949,250, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 1,947,000.

Last Friday the Labor Department released a separate showing much stronger than expected job growth in the month of June.

The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 222,000 jobs in June following an upwardly revised increase of 152,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected employment to climb by 179,000 jobs.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate inched up to 4.4 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to hold steady.

The Labor Department also said average hourly employee earnings rose by 0.2 percent to $26.25. Average hourly earnings in June were up by 2.5 percent year-over-year.

by RTT Staff Writer

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