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The Department of Labor reported Thursday morning that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 341,000 people filed initial claims for unemployment for the week ending July 13, a decrease of 24,000 from last week's downwardly revised figure of 358,000, which originally was reported at 360,000. Downward revisions for initial claims are rare, having been made only seven times in 2012. For the comparable week of 2012, claims were 382,000. For the comparable week of 2009, at the depth of the Great Recession, initial claims were 546,000.

Economists say that July is a difficult month to measure initial applications for unemployment because of summer layoffs in the auto industry, which spends weeks retooling, and the Independence Day holiday. But this year most U.S. automakers did not lay workers off for retooling, or only did so for one week, because higher car sales have put pressure on production lines.

A less volatile measure, the four-week running average, dropped to 346,000, down 5,250 from the previous week's revised average of 351,250. For 2012, the weekly average was 375,000. For the first six-and-a-half months of 2013, including the most recent report, the weekly average is running 351,000.

For the week ending June 29, the number of people claiming benefits in both state and the federal emergency unemployment compensation programs was 4,519,501, down 1,903 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2012, 5,753,820 persons claimed benefits in both programs. The number is lower because some people have found jobs and some have exhausted their eligiblity for compensation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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