Initial jobless claims fell 3.5% to 334,000 for the week ending June 8, according to a Labor Department report released today.

After dropping an unrevised 3.1% the previous week, analysts had expected an upswing to 350,000 initial jobless claims.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department.

With a second consecutive week of declines, the four-week moving average also decreased for the first time in over a month, down 2.1% to 345,250. Both the latest week's claims and the four-week average clock in solidly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, nine states recorded decreases of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ending June 1 (most recent available data). California's claims dropped 8,800 due to fewer services and manufacturing layoffs, while Florida managed a 3,250-claim decrease as a result of fewer agriculture, construction, and manufacturing layoffs.

Tennessee and New York were the only states to register increases of more than 1,000 initial claims. Tennessee pointed to administrative and support services layoffs as the main pull behind its 1,280-initial-claim bump, while New York did not comment on its 1,000 increase.

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