WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed an unexpected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 9th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 218,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 222,000. Economists had expected initial jobless claims to inch up to 224,000.
The less volatile four-week moving average also dipped to 224,250, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 225,500.
For the first time in months, the Labor Department did not say claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 49,000 to 1.697 million in the week ended June 2nd.
With the decrease, continuing claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 1.692 million in December of 1973.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slipped to a more than 44-year low of 1,726,250, a decrease of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 1,730,000.
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