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MNI DATA ANALYSIS: US Jobless Claims Rise 2,000 To 234,000>

--Initial Claims 4-Week Avg -2,750 To 237,750;May Fall Again Next Week
By Kevin Kastner and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment 
benefits rose by 2,000 to 234,000 in the August 19 week, slightly below 
the 235,000 level expected and following no revision to the 232,000 
claims level in the previous week, data released by the Labor Department 
Thursday showed. 
     The four-week moving average for initial claims, a better measure 
of the underlying trend of the data, fell by 2,750 to 237,750 in the 
August 19 week, a fourth straight decline and the lowest level since 
235,500 in the May 20 week. 
     If the number of headline claims does not change next week and 
there are no revisions to data from the past four weeks, the four-week 
average will fall by an additional 1,750 as the 241,000 level in the 
July 29 week rolls out of the calculation. 
     Seasonal adjustment factors had expected a decrease of 2.5%, or 
4,881, in unadjusted claims in the week. Instead, unadjusted claims fell 
by 3,562 to 194,718. The current week's level was well below the 217,011 
level in the comparable week a year ago. 
     The level of continuing claims was unchanged at 1.954 million in 
the August 12 week, while the four-week moving average for continuing 
claims fell by 2,750 to 1.958 million. Continuing claims were at a level 
of 1.965 million in the July 15 week, so there was an 11,000 improvement 
from mid-July. 
     The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate held steady at 
1.4% in the August 12 week for the nineteenth straight week. The current 
week's rate is down from 1.6% in the same week a year earlier. 
     The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below 
that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are 
approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and 
labor force reentrants included in the monthly report. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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