US weekly jobless claims drift lower

First-time applications for U.S. unemployment benefits drifted lower last week, which could allay fears of a material shift in the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week ended June 22, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The claims data included last Wednesday’s Juneteenth National Independence Day, a new holiday. Claims tend to be volatile around public holidays.

They had risen to the upper end of their 194,000-243,000 range of this year.

Economists are split on whether the recent increase in claims pointed to rising layoffs or the repeat of volatility experienced during the same time last year.


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