US jobless claims fall unexpectedly to 267,000

Jobless claims filed for the first time by US workers dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended June 13, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the 15th straight week that claims held below 300,000, a threshold usually associated with a firming labor market.

M. Spencer Green/AP/File
Bianca Medici, left, a corporate recruiter for CDM Media, speaks with job applicants during a National Career Fairs job fair in Chicago. Initial jobless claims fell to 267,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, June 18, 2015.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to a tightening labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended June 13, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were unrevised. It was the 15th straight week that claims held below 300,000, a threshold usually associated with a firming labor market.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday gave an upbeat assessment of the labor market. The U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee said in its statement that on balance, a range of job market indicators "suggests that underutilization of labor resources diminished somewhat."

That was an upgrade from April when measures of labor market slack were viewed as "little changed."

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 275,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the state level data.

"The lower-than-expected print for initial claims, particularly relative to the May survey week, suggests labor markets have continued to strengthen through mid June, in our view," Barclays Research economist Jesse Hurwitz wrote in an e-mailed analysis. "We look to next week’s report for a reading on survey week continuing claims, which should provide additional clarity on the strength of June labor market conditions."

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,000 to 276,750 last week.

The claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for the payrolls portion of June's employment report. Jobless claims fell 8,000 between the May and June survey periods, suggesting another month of solid job gains.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 280,000 in May after a rise of 221,000 in April.

Thursday's claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid declined 50,000 to 2.22 million in the week ended June 6. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.