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.

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