Initial claims for state unemployment benefits in the July 18 week rose by 30,000 to 554,000, below analysts’ expectations, according to data released by the Labor Department yesterday.

Unadjusted claims fell 90,298 to 580,944, while due to seasonal factors it was expected unadjusted claims would fall 121,000 after rising in the previous two week. However, smaller gains in those weeks led to a smaller-than-expected unadjusted decline in the current week, a Labor analyst said.

In the July 11 week, continuing claims fell by 88,000 to 6.225 million as seasonal adjustment difficulties continued. Continuing claims were 3.165 million in the comparable week a year ago.

The analyst said that we have had three to four weeks of volatility due to the timing of the manufacturing layoffs, but sees claims closer to trend starting next week.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to rise to 560,000 in the week ended July 18. Expectations ranged from 535,000 to 590,000.

— Market News International

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