New claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell for the first time in three weeks, data from the US Commerce Department showed today.
In particular, initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 2,000 to 250,000 in the week ended August 13. The average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg poll put claims at 264,000.
The number of people applying for benefits is among the best barometers of whether the economy is improving or worsening. Initial jobless claims fell to a low of 166,000 at the end of March – the second lowest on record – before picking up in the spring and summer as the economy began to slow.
Meanwhile, government data showed ongoing claims rose by 7,000 to 1.44 million for the week ended Aug. 6.