WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits jumped 34,000 to 406,000 in the July 19 week, a four-month high that the Labor Department yesterday attributed mostly to seasonal adjustment volatility.

The week’s increase was well above forecast expectations, which had centered on a median of 375,000 in a Market News International survey.

The initial claims level was the highest since it hit 406,000 in the March 29 week, Labor reported.

A combination of calendar factors in recent weeks — including the quarter-end, the July 4 holiday, and automotive plant retooling shutdowns — have contributed to uncharacteristic volatility surrounding the seasonal adjustment factors, a Labor Department analyst said.

This week the seasonal adjustment factor led to expectations of a 21.6% decline in unadjusted claims, or around 104,000, but they actually declined 14.4%, or 70,056, the analyst said.

Continuing claims for the July 12 week were down 9,000 to 3.107 million.

— 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.