Initial jobless claims edged up 1.3% to 317,000 for the week ending June 7, according to a Labor Department report released today.
After increasing a revised 1.3% the previous week, this newest report proved to be an unpleasant surprise for analysts, who had expected a slight decline to 309,000 initial claims.
From a more long-term perspective, a 1.5% bump in the four-week moving average to 315,250 initial claims marks the first increase since the start of May, a sign that a steadily recovering labor market can't be counted on to always improve. Both the latest week's claims and the four-week average fall significantly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.
On a state-by-state basis, five states recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ending May 31 (most recent available data). California claimed the largest decline (1,940), followed by New Jersey (1,650) and Pennsylvania (-1,420). In a rare occurrence, not a single state registered an increase of more than 1,000 initial claims for the same period.