Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims jumped to 311,000 from 290,000 a week ago.

This was a bit worse than the 295,000 expected by economists.

“At the turn of this year the trend was nearer 340K so the decline has been substantial and, as far as we can tell, it is continuing,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson. “Note that the drop in claims is mirrored in the strength of the hiring intentions component of the NFIB survey; taken together, the data suggest that the trend in payroll growth should be 250K or more by the late fall. Next week, claims should dip back to 300K or so.”

Today’s report brings the 4-week moving average to 295,750, up 2,000 from last week.

Continuing claims rose to 2.544 million from 2.519 million last week.

“There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims,” said the Department of Labour.

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