Initial jobless claims decreased another 6.6% last week on top of a big decline the prior week, after reaching the highest level since August during the first week of May. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended May 14 fell by 29,000 to 409,000. Initial claims for the prior week were 438,000, which was revised upward 4,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 425,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 410,000 and 440,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 400,000 for last week. Most economists believe weekly new 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, rose by 1,250 to 439,000 from a slightly revised average of 437,750 the prior week. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended May 7 remained unchanged at 3%, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended April 30 fell to 7.94 million from 7.98 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.
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