The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 267,000 in the seven days from June 7 to June 13, keeping initial claims near a 15-year low. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected claims to total a seasonally adjusted 279,000. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, dropped by 2,000 to 276,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly report and is seen as a more accurate predictor of labor-market trends. Continuing jobless claims, reflecting people who already collect unemployment checks, declined by 50,000 to 2.22 million in the week ended June 6. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.
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