Jobless claims edge up in latest week
But continuing unemployment claims are down for the first time since January.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance rose slightly last week, while the number filing ongoing claims fell for the first time since the start of the year, according to government data released Thursday.
There were 608,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 13, up 3,000 from a revised-up 605,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.
The number was just above the 604,000 consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
"This is still consistent with falling payrolls, but the point here is that the post-Lehman panic among employers appears to have subsided," wrote Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, in a research note.
Still, he said, the "clear but slow and fitful downward trend" in initial claims should continue.
The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 615,750, down 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 622,750.
Continuing claims: The government said 6,687,500 people filed continuing claims in the week ended June 6, the most recent data available. That's down 148,000 from the preceding week's revised 6,835,500 claims.
The continuing claims total last declined in the week ended Jan. 3 -- a week that included the New Year's holiday. Ongoing claims were reported to have decreased two weeks ago, but that figure was subsequently revised and marked as an increase.
Because continuing claims lag by a few weeks, "they ought to be falling now given that initial claims peaked more than two months ago," Shepherdson noted.
The 4-week moving average of continuing claims rose to 6,757,500, up 2,250 from the prior week's revised average of 6,755,250.
State-by-state data: Arkansas was the only state to report that initial claims decreased by more than 1,000.
Arkansas reported 1,206 fewer initial claims, which a state-issued comment attributed to fewer layoffs in the automobile industry.
Half of all states reported new claims increased by more than 1,000. That's a 25-state increase from the previous week's report, when zero states reported as such.