Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by a massive 34,000 in the May 2 week to 601,000 — going against analysts’ expectations — according to data released by the Labor Department yesterday.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to rise to 635,000 this week from the originally reported 631,000 in the April 25 week. The expectations ranged from 625,000 to 650,000.

Initial claims for the May 2 week are the lowest seen since the week ending Jan. 24. The April 25 estimate was revised up to 635,0000, while the April 18 level remained unrevised at 645,0000.

The initial claims seasonally adjusted four-week average declined 14,750 to 623,500 — the lowest since the Feb. 14 week.

In the April 25 week, continuing claims set another record high for the 14th consecutive week — now firmly entrenched above the six million mark — rising 56,000 to 6.351 million. Continuing claims were 3.011 million in the comparable week a year ago.

— Market News International

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.