July 28, 2005

Jobless claims rise less than expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new
claims for jobless benefits rose 5,000 last week, slightly less
than expected, a government report showed on Thursday.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance aid rose
to 310,000 in the week ended July 23 from an upwardly revised
305,000 the week before, the Labor Department said. That level
is below 340,000 claims for the same period a year earlier.

The rise in new claims was less than expected by Wall
Street, which forecast 317,000 new claims after an original
reading of 303,000 in the week ended July 16.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special
factors behind the rise.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths
weekly volatility to provide a better sense of the pace of
layoffs, fell for the second straight week, dropping to 318,250
from 318,500 in the previous week.

The number of people who remained on the benefit rolls
after drawing an initial week of aid rose 32,000 to 2.6 million
in the week ended July 16, the latest week for which figures
are available.