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First Cut: Initial jobless claims about as expected in July 13 week and close to underlying trend

Initial claims for jobless benefits rose 8,000 in the July 13 week to 216,000 after 208,000 in the prior week (previously 209,000). The four-week moving average dipped to 218,750 after 219,000. At present, claims data is a bit noisy due to some seasonal adjustment mismatches that anticipated a burst of filings that only partially materialized in the July 6 week but were more normal for this time of year in the July 13 week.

In any case, the underlying trend for new filings for benefits remains low overall in spite of some week-to-week fluctuations.

The Labor Department reported no special factors and no states estimated claims.

Continuing claims fell 42,000 to 1.686 million in the July 6 week, suggesting that recently laid-off workers are finding new employment fairly quickly. The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.2% where it has been since early May 2018. The unrounded rate was 1.169% in the July 6 week after 1.203 in the prior week.

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