U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rise 3,000 to 608,000

The number of newly laid-off Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits increased last week after four weeks of declines, the Labor Department said Thursday.

From DOL: In the week ending June 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 608,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 605,000. The 4-week moving average was 615,750, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 622,750.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 6 was 6,687,000, a decrease of 148,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 6,835,000.

Initial claims are being closely monitored for signs of stability in the labor market, one of the segments worst hit by the recession. Many economists expect the unemployment rate to approach 10% by the end of this year. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 30 were in Michigan (7.5%), Oregon (7.0%), and Nevada (6.3%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 6 were in Pennsylvania (+6,861), Florida (+6,469), Ohio (+5,104), California (+4,894), and New York (+4,795).

A rise in the number of job losses is always seen as a negative factor in the economy. Higher job losses increase the risk that consumer spending will falter, delaying the economic recovery projected for later this year.

The unemployment levels continue to be far above what is customary in a healthy economy.

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