The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits rose 4,000 in the week ending May 24th, to 372,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists were expecting 370,000 new claims for the week. Having witnessed extremely volatile measurements in the past few weeks, it is wise to consider the four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out one-time factors such as bad weather or holidays. The four-week moving average was lower by 2,500 in the latest week, down to 370,500.
Initial claims are up 20% in the past year.
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