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US Jobless Claims Steady at 312,000

WASHINGTON (MNI) -- Initial jobless claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell by 2,000 claims to 312,000 in the June 21 week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 312,000 level of jobless claims was spot on with the 312,000 median expectation from a forecast survey compiled by MNI. The June 14 week was revised up by 2,000 claims to 314,000.

The Labor Department said there were no special factors impacting the report and initial claims have been fairly steady in June with very little volatility. However, that could change with the July 4th Holiday next week and auto manufacturers typically shutdown in July for retooling.

The four-week moving average for initial claims rose by 2,000 to 314,250 as the May 24 week dip in claims rolled off.

For the month of June, jobless claims are averaging 316,667 through the third week of the month after averaging 312,600 during the five weeks in May.

The Labor Department said seasonal adjustment factors had expected a 1.4% increase in unadjusted claims, or a 4,076 increase. Instead, unadjusted claims rose just 0.9%, or 2,832 to 304,169. That level is below the 345,250 level reported in the comparable week a year ago.

The level of continuing claims came in at 2.571 million after seasonal adjustment in the June 14 week, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week, and the four week moving average fell 13,000 to 2.587 million which is the lowest level since November 3, 2007 when it was 2.586 million.

The level of unadjusted continuing claims also rose, increasing by 30,014 to 2,417,196 in the June 14 week, below the 2,801,508 level in the comparable week a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 2.0% in the June 14 week after falling 0.1% to 1.9% in the previous week. The insured unemployment rate was 2.3% a year ago.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department reported that a total of 2,441,475 persons claimed unemployment benefits in the June 7 week, a 37,990 decrease from the previous week. That level is well below the 4,549,463 persons in the comparable week a year ago. It should be noted that last year's total includes Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

These data are not seasonally adjusted, and include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans claims, extended benefits programs, state additional benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

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