U.S. Jobless Claims Rise 2,000 to 304,000

WASHINGTON (MNI) - Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose less than expected in the April 12 week, increasing by 2,000 to 304,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The forecast for this week's report was for a claims level of 315,000, which would have been an increase of 15,000 from the previously reported 300,000 level. Last week's figure was revised up to 302,000. The Labor Department said there were no special factors in this week's report.

This report coincides with the survey week for Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report.

The initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average fell 4,750 to 312,000 in the April 12 week, which is the lowest since the October 6, 2007 week when the 4-week moving average was 302,000.

The Labor Department reported seasonal adjustment factors had expected a 5.3% increase from the previous week, or an additional 16,022 claims. Instead, unadjusted claims rose 5.8%, or 17,512.

The level of continuing claims came in at 2.739 million after seasonal adjustment in the April 5 week, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week. Unadjusted continuing claims fell 90,390 to 2,851,790, below the 3,195,675 reported in the comparable week one year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.1% in the April 5 week, just under the 2.3% reported in the comparable week a year earlier.

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 3,007,392 persons claimed unemployment benefits in the March 29 week, a 155,971 decline from the previous week. That level is well below the 5,146,499 persons in the comparable week a year ago. It should be noted that last year's total includes Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

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