The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level since January, but the seasonally adjusted data was again distorted by an unusual pattern of automotive industry layoffs that amplified the drop.
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance fell 47,000 to a lower-than-expected seasonally adjusted 522,000 in the week ended July 11, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims to be unchanged at 565,000 last week.
A Labor Department official said that far fewer layoffs than anticipated based on past experience in the automotive sector and elsewhere in manufacturing accounted for both the large drop in seasonally adjusted claims last week and in the very steep decline in so-called continued claims.
(Reporting by Alister Bull, Editing by Andrea Ricci)