Initial jobless claims decreased again last week, but remained higher than 400,000 for the 14th straight week. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended July 9 fell by 22,000 to 405,000 from an upwardly revised 427,000 the previous week. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 405,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 395,000 and 415,000.A MarketWatch survey produced an estimate of 420,000 claims for last week. Most economists believe weekly jobless claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, declined by 3,750 to 423,250 from an upwardly revised 427,000 the prior week. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended July 2 stayed 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 25 rose to 7.48 million from 7.46 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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