WASHINGTON -- The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for state jobless benefits began climbing back up last week, confirming that the dramatic declines reported earlier this month weren't necessarily signs of an economic revival. Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 30,000 to 554,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended July 18, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The four-week average of new claims, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, fell by 19,000 to 566,000, the lowest level since Jan. 24. The tally of continuing claims -- those drawn by workers for more than one week -- fell by 88,000 during the week ended July 11 to 6,225,000, the lowest level since April 11.
The good news is that the four-week average of new claims fell to a six-month low (see chart above), so there could be an economic revivial after all.