Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped a surprising 53,000 in the April 11 week to a three-month low of 610,000, mostly on seasonal factors.

The seasonally adjusted four-week average, however, did not register such a drop, with initial claims down 8,500 to 651,000.

In the April 4 week, continuing claims set another record high for the 11th consecutive week — breaking the six million mark — rising by 172,000 to 6.022 million. Continuing claims were 2.976 million in the comparable week a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate again rose in the April 4 week from the prior week, this time to 4.5% from 4.4%, the highest seen since the matching rate in the week of Jan. 29, 1983. It was 2.2% in the comparable week a year ago.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is roughly half 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.

— Market News International

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