Jobless Claims Fall To 454,000, Still Stuck Too High

Unemployment insurance claims by the newly unemployed fell to 454,000 last week, down from 21,000 the week prior, the Department of Labor reported today. That’s the lowest level since May, though claim numbers have fluctuated wildly in the past two months.

Another 4.5 million Americans were claiming long-term unemployment insurance—for those jobless 27 weeks or more—the week ended June 19, the most recent week data was available. That’s down 325,000 from the previous week, probably thanks to the federal government’s failure to renew unemployment benefits for those already receiving weekly checks.

Unemployment claims should fall below 400,000 before the economy will begin to generate true growth, economists say. The weekly figure has been stuck at 450,000 or so for months.