Weekly jobless claims dropped to 398,000 for the week ending July 23, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday, ending a fifteen-week streak above the 400,000 level economists say claims need to drop below in order to dent unemployment.
Thursday’s data was well below the 415,000 initial claims for weekly jobless benefits forecast by Wall Street.
Claims fell 24,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 422,000. Last week, claims had risen in part due to a bump from Minnesota employees filing as a result of the state government shutdown. The shutdown came to a close last Wednesday after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a budget agreement.
The 4-week moving average, a less volatile gauge of labor market health, was 413,750, a decrease of 8,500 from the previous week's revised average of 422,250. The Labor Department did not cite any specific special factors in this week’s decline in claims.