Initial jobless claims fell 1.9% to 312,000 for the week ending June 14, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
After increasing a revised 1.6% the previous week, this newest report reversed course, squeaking in just below analysts' expectations of 313,000 claims.
From a more long-term perspective, a 1.2% decline in the four-week moving average to 311,750 initial claims provides further evidence of a steadily improving labor market. This is the fifth report in six weeks in which the four-week moving average has fallen. 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.
In a rare occurrence, not a single state recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ending June 7 (most recent available data). For the same period, a sizable 13 states registered increases of more than 1,000 initial claims. California took the claims-increase cake, citing services layoffs as the main reason for its 9,940-initial-claim increase. Florida snagged second, with agriculture, construction, and manufacturing layoffs contributing to its 4,050-claim rise.