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Jobless claims inched lower last week, remain elevated

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Initial jobless claims fell slightly last week, yet still topped most analyst estimates and remained higher than 400,000 for the 12th straight week. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended June 25 dropped to 428,000 from an unrevised 429,000 the previous week. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 420,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 410,000 and 430,000. Most economists believe weekly claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. Weekly jobless claims fell to about 383,000 in February and stayed low for most of the next two months, but soared to about 474,000 in late April and have stayed high since. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, inched up to 426,750 last week from 426,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended June 18 fell to 2.9% from a revised 3% the prior week, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended June 11 fell to 7.51 million from 7.54 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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