Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the United States came in just slightly above expectations, but still fell 6k from the previous week's upwardly revised figure, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Continuing claims rose to 3.525 million for the week ending Aug. 30.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 6 came in at 445k, against forecasts were for a fall to 440k following last week's upwardly revised reading of 451k.

This week's figure is still above the four-week moving average for initial claims, which is now 440k, up from 439k last week.

Continuing claims were expected to come in at 3.460 million for the week ending Aug. 30, following the previous week's downwardly revised figure of 3.403 million.

This is the 18th consecutive week that continuing claims have been above the 3 million mark. The four-week moving average is now 3.429 million, up from the moving average of 3.392 million in the previous week.

Claims have recently been higher than normal following new rules introduced by the Department of Labor that made filing for unemployment benefits easier.

Prior to the release, Sal Guatieri from BMO Capital Markets said a continuation of the upward trend in initial jobless claims would flag a possible large decline in September payrolls.

By Stephen Huebl and edited by Nancy Girgis
©CEP News Ltd. 2008