Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, suggesting a modest improvement in the jobs market.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 370,000 last week.
.... Paul Dales, senior economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, said the jobless claims data suggested labor market conditions were "fairly stable."
.... In the week ended August 4, 361K people filed initial jobless claims, lower than [last week's] upward revised 367K, and below expectations of 370K....
.... perhaps the most notable move that will pass largely unobserved is that in the week ended July 21, a whopping 127K dropped off extended claims, which means no more free $400 weekly checks, and a corresponding hit to iGadget purchases and retail sales.