Initial Jobless Claims Fall for Third Consecutive Week - TheStreet

The number of people filing for

initial jobless claims fell last week, but the number of Americans on the unemployment roster continued to grow.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended June 23 fell 16,000 to 388,000 from a revised 404,000 in the prior week, the

Labor Department

reported this morning. Economists had expected claims to rise to 412,000. This is the third straight week of declines.

The report comes one day after the

Federal Reserve announced it was cutting short-term rates another quarter of a percentage point, bringing the federal funds target rate to 3.75%. The move was the Fed's sixth rate cut of the year. The other reductions this year had each been 50 basis points.

The closely watched four-week moving average of initial jobless claims came in at 416,000 -- 7,750 lower than the previous week's revised average of 423,750. The four-week average moved above the 400,000 mark in late April. Before then, it hadn't been that high since 1992.

The total number of people getting unemployment benefits rose last week, hitting 2,992,000. That's an increase of 14,000 from the prior week.

The weekly report on jobless claims is considered a gauge of the condition of the labor market and is a good indicator of the tone of the monthly employment report. The June jobs report gets released next Friday.