The labor department reported on Thursday that the claims for Unemployment Benefits dropped last week, meeting Wall Street expectations, while longer-term unemployment signs showed improvement.First-time the jobless claim benefits dropped to 385,000 for the week ended July 31, a decline of 14,000 from the previous week as the jobs market remains essentially in a holding pattern during the economic recovery. The four-week moving average of the Unemployment Benefits claims, which smooths weekly volatility, was little changed at 394,000.
Claims have circulated largely in a range around the 400,000 level since mid-May, with employment rising in Covid-hit sectors such as leisure and hospitality but changing little in some other key sectors including most goods-related industries.However, continuing claims showed a sharp dip, according to data that runs one week behind the headline weekly number. That level plunged by 366,000 to 2.93 million, the first time continuing claims have fallen below 3 million since March 14, 2020.
The claims numbers dropped a day ahead of the closely watched July nonfarm payrolls report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Dow Jones estimate for the month is 845,000, a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP showing just 330,000 more private payroll jobs could signal a disappointment for July.