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U.S. Jobless Claims Fell By 11,000 Last Week

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WASHINGTON (6/7/13)--The number of new U.S. claims for initial unemployment benefits dropped by 11,000 last week--to 346,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The decline indicates job growth is moderate despite slackening economic activity and that firms are confident consumer demand will continue amid federal budget cuts and tax increases (The New York Times and Bloomberg.com June 6).

However, a broader gauge of job cuts rose last week, with the four-week moving average--which smoothes out weekly data volatility--increasing by 4,500, to 352,000 (The Wall Street Journal June 6).

Labor market progress has been uneven, these figures show, with the U.S. economy continues to expand sluggishly, the Journal said.

Employers may be adding to their work forces less aggressively than earlier this year when hiring was strong. For example, unemployment claims increased from five-year lows set a month ago, the Journal added.

Fewer job cuts set up employers to add to their work forces if sales rise in the second half of the year, Bloomberg said.

In a related matter, U.S. private businesses created 135,000 new jobs in May, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and forecasting company Moody's Analytics (The Wall Street Journal June 5). That was less than the 170,000 jobs expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswire.