Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline for Second Time in Three Weeks
Bloomberg – Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits declined for the second time in three weeks, a sign the labor market is holding up, data showed Wednesday ahead of the June jobs report later this week.
Jobless claims dropped to 221,000 in the week ended June 29, according to Labor Department figures that were close to the median estimate in Bloomberg’s survey of economists. The four- week average, a less-volatile measure, edged up.
- The decline in claims may temper concerns about the job market ahead of the Labor Department’s employment report, which is projected to show payrolls climbed 164,000 after a weak 75,000 gain in May. Federal Reserve policy makers are monitoring the labor market for strains as they consider cutting interest rates, though claims still remain near the lowest level since 1969.
- Claims tend to be volatile around holidays, and next week’s figures will include the July 4 holiday. Annual retooling at auto plants can also impact the data.
- A separate government report Wednesday showed the trade deficit widened in May to $55.5 billion, the biggest shortfall this year.
- Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, fell by 8,000 to 1.69 million in the week ended June 22.
- The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.2%.
- Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected claims to fall to 223,000. Previous week’s number was revised to 229,000 from 227,000.
- The claims report was issued a day earlier than usual because of the Independence Day holiday on July 4.