The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits fell sharply in the week ending May 31th, according to the Labor Department. Claims dropped 18,000, to 357,000. Economists were expecting 375,000 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 also lower, by 2,750 in the latest week, down to 368,500. A year ago, the four-week average stood at 305,000.
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