Jobless Claims Plummet

By John S. McClenahen Economists generally expected initial claims for unemployment benefits to draft downward to about 405,000 for the week ending June 1. In fact, they plummeted to 383,000, a 32,000 fall from a revised 415,000 during the previous week, data from the U.S. Labor Department's Employment & Training Administration reveal. "Distortions from the federal claims extension has faded, and claims are settling back to a level consistent with modest labor market improvement," contends Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. Maury Harris, chief U.S. economist at UBS Warburg LLC., New York is not so sure. "One week does not make a trend, particularly a week that includes a holiday [Memorial Day]," he stresses. "More evidence will be required to conclude that the job market is truly on the road to recovery."

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