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First-Time and Continuing Jobless Claims Drop

First-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 9,000 to 346,000 for week ending June 22, the ""Labor Department"":https://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2013/062713.asp reported Thursday.


Economists expected 345,000 claims.

Claims filings for the week ended June 15 were revised up to 355,000 from the originally reported 354,000.

The claims report offered finalized data for the same week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for its monthly employment situation report to be released July 5.

From mid-May to mid-June, the number of initial claims increased 11,000, while the four-week average of first-time claims went up 8,000, suggesting layoffs could be a drag on payrolls and the unemployment rate in the employment situation report.

Initial claims filings have not suggested any pattern thus far this year. In the first quarter, first-time filings decreased in seven of the 13 weeks; through the first 12 weeks of the second quarter, initial filings dropped seven times. The absence of any consistent pattern underscores how volatile the labor market remains.

The number of persons continuing to collect unemployment insurance for the week ending June 15 (reported on a one week lag) dropped 1,000 to 2,965,000. The prior week's original report of 2,951,000 original claims was revised up to 2,966,000.

Economists generally consider 350,000 first time claims filings to be normal ""churn"" and the ""tipping point"" between an expanding and contracting labor market. Claims have been trending down to 350,000 for several months.

The four-week moving average of first-time claims dropped 2,750 (reversing an increase of exactly the same size one week earlier) to 345,750. The four-week moving average of continuing claims declined 9,250 to 2,973,250 for the period ending June 15.

Continuing claims have been affected by the budget sequester, which took effect at the beginning of March, causing states to either reduce weekly payouts or cap the number of weeks an individual could collect unemployment insurance.

Both the continuing and initial claims data sets were also affected by seasonal adjustment factors higher than the previous week. Higher seasonal adjustment factors--which adjust raw data for known and predictable influences on claims such as holidays--increase the numbers for both data series.

According to the Labor Department, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending June 8 was 4,556,706, an increase of 23,146 from the previous week. There were 5,890,083 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012. Extended Benefits were not available in any state during the week ending June 8.

According to the BLS, 11,760,000 persons were officially considered unemployed in May with, 4,357,000 ""long-term"" unemployed--that is, out of work for at least 27 weeks. Of those individuals counted as unemployed, 7.20 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance for the week ending June 8, down from 7.24 million one week earlier.

The Labor Department also said states reported 1,707,109 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending June 8, an increase of 23,147 from the prior week. There were 2,645,554 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2012. EUC benefits this year were directly threatened by the federal budget sequester.

According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 15 were in California (+15,341), Pennsylvania (+4,882), Florida (+4,850), Michigan (+1,114), and Maryland (+1,065), while the largest decreases were in Illinois (-3,401), New York (-2,090), Georgia (-1,893), Missouri (-1,591), and Tennessee (-1,542).

Illinois, New York and Missouri, the Labor Department said, reported fewer layoffs in the construction industry as the number of claims in those states for the week ended June 15 fell by more than 1,000. Five states--California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Maryland--reported claims for the same week increased by more than 1,000. Both California and Florida cited an increase in layoffs in service sector industries.

_Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, tomorrow at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._