New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell for the third consecutive week, the government said on June 4 amid signs that the brutal recession gripping the economy is easing.
The Labor Department said that the the number of initial claims for jobless benefits in the week ending May 30 dipped to 621,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 625,000.
The weekly initial claims data, a snapshot on the labor market, has shown new claims above the 600,000 level for three months but is down from a peak of 674,000 in late March.
The four-week moving average was 631,250, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 627,250, the Labor Deparment said.
It added that the insured unemployment rate was 5% for the week ending May 23, unchanged from the prior week's revised rate. That meant the number collecting jobless benefits during that week was 6.735 million, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,75 million.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009