WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose more than expected in the June 15 employment survey week, advancing by 18,000 to 354,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Expectations for this week's report was for a claims level of 340,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previously reported 334,000 level in June 8 week. The initial claims level in that week was revised up slightly to 336,000.

The level of initial claims in the June 15 week was up 10,000 from the 344,000 level in the May 18 employment survey week.

The initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average rose 2,500 to 348,250 in the June 15 week, continuing its upward trend after falling in the previous week.

A Labor Department analyst said that there were no states estimated and nothing unusual in the state level data.

Unadjusted claims rose 0.9%, or 2,949, to 335,320. That level is below the 364,548 level reported in the comparable week a year ago.

The state data released for the June 8 week indicated unadjusted initial claims increased in 45 states and declined in 8 states, with no states unchanged. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands are included in this data.

The level of continuing claims came in at 2.951 million after seasonal adjustment in the June 8 week, a decline of 40,000 from the previous week.

The level of unadjusted continuing claims fell 13,198 to 2,765,232 in the June 8 week, below the 3,101,927 level in the comparable week a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment held steady at 2.3% in the June 8 week, below the seasonally adjusted 2.6% rate in the comparable week a year earlier.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits claims fell 19,496 to 1,683,962 in the June 1 week.

The Labor Department reported that a total of 4,533,560 persons claimed unemployment benefits in the June 1 week, an 18,115 rise from the previous week, but still well below the 5,818,334 persons in the comparable week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans claims, the EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

Market News International is a real-time global news service for fixed-income and foreign exchange market professionals. See www.marketnews.com.

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