WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims fell by 29,000 filings the week ending July 10 to a 23-month low of 429,000 as fewer manufacturing workers received seasonal furloughs than is normally the case, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
New unemployment claims have averaged 462,400 a week in 2010. Continuing claims rose 247,000 to 4.682 million the week ending July 3, the highest level since May 22. The four-week moving average for continuing claims increased for the first time in five weeks.
The increase in continuing claims is not correlated to the recent expiration of extended unemployment benefit programs, a Labor official said. Economists expected 450,000 initial claims and 4.410 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
“Growth appears to have decelerated fairly sharply since the start of the year,” Diane Swonk, chief economist of Mesirow Financial, said of the economy after Thursday’s data.