First-time jobless filings fall to lowest level since COVID-19 outbreak

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The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Data released Thursday by the Labor Department showed 364,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits in the week ended June 26, down from an upwardly revised 415,000 filings the week prior. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected a decline to 390,000 filings. 

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Continuing claims for the week ended June 19, meanwhile, unexpectedly rose to 3.469 million filings, up from the previous week’s upwardly revised 3.413 million. Analysts were expecting a decline to 3.382 million filings. 

The unexpected increase in continuing claims comes as many states continue to pay an additional $300 per week in supplemental benefits. At least 26 states, all with Republican governors, besides Louisiana, have announced plans to terminate the additional payments before they are scheduled to end in September.

The mixed report comes a day after ADP said private-sector job growth slowed last month, setting the stage for Friday's June jobs report.  

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The report is expected to show the U.S. economy added 706,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, according to a Refinitiv poll of economists. The economy gained 559,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate fell to 5.8%. 

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