A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 19th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 418,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 380,000 from the 412,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the report said the less volatile four-week moving average crept up to 397,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 396,250.

The Labor Department said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, slid by 144,000 to 3.390 million in the week ended June 12th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell by 55,250 to 3,552,500, hitting the lowest level since the week ended March 21, 2020.

“We expect the labor market recovery to gather momentum in the months ahead and anticipate a total of 8 million jobs will be created in 2021,” said Kathy Bostjancic, Chief U.S. Financial Economist at Oxford Economics.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of June.

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