First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly lower in the week ended June 18th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report showed initial jobless claims dipped to 229,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 231,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 227,000 from the 229,000 originally reported for the previous week.
“We think claims have probably found a new floor around the 225k mark, still a relatively low level but above the first quarter average,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
She added, “While labor markets remain tight and we expect job growth to continue even as the economy slows, reports of layoffs in some sectors are on the rise.”
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average crept up to 223,500, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 219,000.
The report showed continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also inched up by 5,000 to 1.315 million in the week ended June 11th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell to a new 52-year low of 1.310 million, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 1.317 million.
“Continued claims have also probably found a bottom around the 1.3mn mark – an historically low level – but we don’t foresee a significant rise in continued claims as we look for job growth to continue and more workers to continue to return to the labor market,” said Vanden Houten.
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