|Jobless claims drop 24,000 to 400,000|
New jobless claims dropped slightly to 400,000 in the seven days to July 24th, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 385,000 new applications. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, edged higher to 394,500. Initial claims in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas saw the biggest declines last week, with five states reporting drops exceeding 5,000. California led increases, followed by Nevada and Tennessee. Continuing claims for state benefits climbed for the first time in four weeks, rising to 3.27m in the week ended July 17th. “Beyond weekly ups and downs, the trend in total filings should remain downward over coming weeks," commented Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "Overall, job growth should pick up and labor shortages should ease as near-term constraints – virus concerns, child-care issues and enhanced unemployment benefits – diminish. But rising virus cases could be a headwind for the labor market and the economy.''