Initial claims for jobless benefits decreased by 6,000 to 386,000 for the week ending on June 23, the Department of Labor announced on Thursday. The four-week average also fell, dropping by 250 claims to 386,750. Despite the decreases, experts say the number of jobless claims remains high and signals stagnant job growth.
In separate studies, economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and Bloomberg News projected jobless claims to be at 385,000 for the week.
The news about the mostly flat numbers follows disappointing job growth in May when the economy added just 69,000 jobs. Recently, the Federal Reserve revised its unemployment estimate for the end of 2012 from between 7.8% to 8.0%--a prediction made in April--to between 8.0% and 8.2%.