Unemployment claims still high, but dropping - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Unemployment claims still high, but dropping


New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, suggesting the labor market is struggling to gain momentum.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits edged down by one thousand to a seasonally adjusted 428,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

It's the 12th straight week that claims have been above 400,000, a level that is usually
associated with a stable labor market.  Employment stumbled badly in May, with employers adding just 54,000 jobs -- the fewest in eight months.

The continued elevation of claims could raise concerns that the economy is in a prolonged
soft patch.  The economy slowed significantly as the year started and continued to lose
momentum through the second quarter, hit by high gasoline prices and supply chain
disruptions after the March earthquake in Japan.

However, many economists and the Federal Reserve believe activity will pick-up in the
third quarter, benefiting from falling gasoline prices and an easing of supply disruptions as
the situation in Japan improves.

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