WASHINGTON (7/19/13)--Initial U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell 24,000 last week, to a seasonally adjusted 334,000--the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The decline, which resulted in the lowest reading since March, is due in part to an ebbing of the effects of seasonal auto-plant shutdowns. It is a positive development for hiring and the most recent indication of steady improvement in the labor market (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com July 18).
Because many factories shut down to retool in July, the month's jobless-claims readings can be volatile, the Times said. However, a four-week moving average of claims--which smooths out weekly volatility--still dropped 5,250 last week from the previous week.
Continuing claims for unemployment benefits for the week ended July 6 increased 91,000--to 3.11 million.