U.S. weekly jobless claims fall more than expected
WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing
applications for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week,
suggesting the labor market was holding firm despite a
manufacturing slowdown and concerns the economy is on a path
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped
12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended Aug.
17, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior
week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than
The decline was sharper than expected. Economists polled by
Reuters had forecast claims would drop to 216,000 in the latest
week. The Labor Department said data for Kentucky for last week
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a
better measure of labor market trends as it irons out
week-to-week volatility, edged up 500 to 214,500 last week.
Last week's claims data falls during the same week the Labor
Department conducts surveys used to estimate national employment
during the month of August.
The four-week average for new unemployment benefits claims
was lower than the corresponding week in July, a positive signal
for employment during the month. (Reporting by Jason Lange;
Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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