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Initial Jobless Claims Climb for Fifth Time in Six Weeks

First time claims for unemployment insurance rose to 386,000 for the week ended June 9, from the prior week's 38,000, (revised from the originally reported 377,000), the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday.

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Economists had expected the report would show 3795,000 initial claims. The bump in claims was the fifth in the last six weeks and eighth in the last 10.

Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô fell 33,000 to 3,278,000 from 3,311,000, the highest level in six weeks. The prior week's level was revised up from the previously reported 3,293,000.

That the prior week's report was revised upward was no surprise: first time claims have been revised upward for all but three of the 22 weekly reports this year.

The claims report continues to show labor market struggles. In the first nine weeks of the quarter, first time claims have averaged 380,700, compared with 371,100 in the first ten weeks of the first quarter.

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The drop in continuing claims reflected in part the federal legislation enacted in February when Congress approved an extension of the payroll tax reduction which capped unemployment benefit programs cutting off benefits for some individuals. Continuing claims have dropped week-week in all but three of the 14 weeks since the legislation took effect.

Initial claims remain above 350,000 which economists consider a tipping point between an expanding and contracting jobs market. First time claims filings were last below 350,000 in March 2008.

The four week moving average for initial claims rose to 378,000 an increase of 3,500 from the preceding week. The four week moving average which smooths the volatile weekly numbers has increased in 10 of the last 15 weeks. The four week average for continuing claims fell 2,500 to 3,281,500.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a two-week lag -- for the week ending May 26 was 5,824,739, a decrease of 145,990 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.72 million people were officially counted as unemployed in May.

States reported 2,555,513 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending May 26, a drop of 17,045 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,293,507 claimants in the comparable week in 2011.

According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 2 were in Oregon (+975), Virginia (+838), New Mexico (+531), Wisconsin (+213), and Nevada (+189), while the largest decreases were in California (-4,168), North Carolina (-2,683), Texas (-1,854), Massachusetts (-1,373), and Georgia (-1,367).

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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