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Weekly unemployment claims for week ending Aug. 4.
Long-term graph of weekly claims
Seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits were 361,000 for the week ending Aug. 4, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000, originally reported as 365,000. The four-week running average that most analysts view as more authoritative because it flattens volatility in the weekly numbers rose to 368,250.

This is the first report in four weeks not to feel the impact of annual automaker shutdowns, which were fewer and shorter than previous shutdowns that typically have taken place in July. Thus, the numbers now, which were skewed during those four weeks by seasonal adjustments that did not take into account the change in shutdown schedules, are more likely to reflect the real situation in the labor market. Growth there remains sluggish and well below the record of most previous post-World War II recessions.

In all programs, including federal emergency extensions, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending July 21 was 5,750,084, down 214,367 from the previous week.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:57 AM PDT.

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