Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 to 366,000 in the August 11 week, about as expected, after a very modest upward revision to the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The median estimate of economists surveyed by MNI was for 365,000, a rise of 4,000 from the initially reported 361,000 level in the August 4 week. That week's claims level was revised up slightly to 364,000.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors and nothing unusual in the state level data.  
Unadjusted claims fell 4,443 to a level of 315,776 in the August 11 week. Unadjusted claims were at a level of 346,014 in the comparable week a year ago.
The initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average was 363,750 in the August 11 week, a decline of 5,500 claims from the previous week and the lowest level since the March 31, 2012 week, when it stood at 363,000.
The state data released for the August 4 week indicated unadjusted initial claims increased in 36 states and declined in 16 state, with 1 state unchanged. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands are included in this data.
Continuing claims came in at 3.305 million after seasonal adjustment in the August 4 week, down 31,000 from the previous week. Unadjusted continuing claims were down 69,887 to 3,172,998 in the week, still well below the 3,553,649 level in the comparable week a year ago.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate held steady at  2.6% for the 21st straight week in the August 4 week, still down from the 2.9% rate in the comparable week a year earlier.
The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.
The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits claims fell by 62,736 in the July 28 week, bringing that category total to 2,350,202. Extended benefits claims fell by 1,123 to 5,223 not seasonally adjusted in the same week.
The Labor Department reported that a total of 5,680,545 persons claimed unemployment benefits in the July 28 week, a decline of 69,782 from the previous week and still well below the 7,334,487 persons in the comparable week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans claims, the EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

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