New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth consecutive week but the insured unemployment rate held steady, the Labor Department said on June 11.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 601,000 in the week ended June 6 from an upwardly revised 625,000 claims in the prior week.
Most analysts had expected new claims of 615,000.
The last time weekly initial jobless claims had declined for four straight weeks was in July 2007, when the economy was enjoying nearly full employment before the subprime home mortgage crisis triggered a global financial and economic crisis.
With the economy currently struggling with a severe recession, the latest Labor Department data underscored the woes in the jobs market. In the week ended May 30, the data showed a record 6.816 million workers were claiming unemployment benefits, the highest level since tracking of the data began in 1967.
The insured unemployment rate held steady at 5.1% in the week ended May 30 from the preceding week, a level last seen in December 1982.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009