NEW YORK (CNNfn) - New jobless claims fell sharply last week, dropping below 400,000 for the first time in over a month, suggesting that the worst might be over for the job market in the United States.|
New claims for state unemployment benefits fell to 366,000 in the week ended July 21 from a revised 417,000 the prior week, the Labor Department reported. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast new claims of 404,000.
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The four-week moving average of new claims, considered a better gauge of jobless trends, fell to 409,000 from the previous period's revised 415,250. Economists watch the four-week moving average more closely since it smoothes fluctuations in the weekly data.
Continued claims -- those by workers who already have claimed at least a week of benefits – fell to 3.09 million in the week ended July 14, the latest available, after a revised reading of 3.1 million the prior week.