NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Fewer Americans lined up for unemployment benefits last week but the number of new claims remained relatively high, the government said Thursday, a sign of further weakness in the job market.|
New claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell to 400,000 last week from a revised 434,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. Wall Street economists had forecast a reading of about 425,000.
The government had no anecdotal evidence to explain the drop, department spokeswoman Cindy Ambler said, according to Reuters.
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The four-week moving average of new claims, closely watched by economists since it smoothes weekly fluctuations, fell to 422,500 for the latest period from 425,250.
New claims have been above 400,000 -- a sign of a softening labor market -- for five straight weeks, the longest run since a similar string in August and September of 1992, the department said.
Continued claims – from workers who have claimed at least a week of benefits – rose to 2.99 million in the week ended June 9, the latest data available, from 2.92 million previously.