New US jobless claims fall to 550,000 in week

WASHINGTON: New claims for US unemployment benefits fell more sharply than expected in the past week, extending a downward trend since June, government data showed Thursday.

The Labor Department said initial claims for jobless insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 550,000 in the week ended on August 1.

That was below the revised 588,000 new claims filed in the preceding week, and lower than the average analyst forecast of 580,000.

Initial jobless claims were at their lowest level since the week ended on July 11. But excluding a recent spate of weekly data skewed by abnormal seasonal factors, claims were at their lowest level since January.

New weekly jobless claims peaked in late March, at 674,000, and since June have headed lower.