WASHINGTON — Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 18,000 to 366,000 in the July 12

week the Labor Department reported yesterday.

A mid-month comparison shows that the level of initial claims fell 18,000 from the June 14 week level of 384,000.

The week’s increase fell below forecast expectations, which had centered on a median of 385,000 in a Market News International survey.

Seasonal adjustments had expected an increase in the July 12 week’s unadjusted claims of 12.9%, or 52,000, but instead got an increase of 18.5%, or 74,000.

The four-week moving average dropped 4,500 to 376,500.

Continuing claims for the July 5 week dropped 81,000 to 3.122 million, although they remained above the 3 million level seen since the April 19 week. 

— Market News International

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