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Jobless Claims Rise, But Four-Week Average Drops

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WASHINGTON (7/26/13)--Initial U.S. claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, but the four-week moving average of claims--which smooths out volatility--fell.
 
With annual automobile-plant temporary shutdowns and school closings this time of year continuing to impact jobs, last week's numbers indicate the recovery of the labor market remains uneven (The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.com July 25).
 
Last week's claims rose 7,000--to 343,000--for the week ended July 20 from the prior week, while the four-week moving average fell 1,250--to 345,250, the Labor Department said Thursday.
 
The job market is improving because job cuts are slowing and payrolls are rising--which enhances the prospects for accelerated consumer spending in the second half of 2013, Bloomberg said. 
 
The jobless-claims trend has been steady, Sean Incremona, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, told Bloomberg.
 
Although the improvement has been sustained since late 2012, there hasn't been much recent momentum to add to that gain, he added.