Initial claims for unemployment insurance edged lower last week, meeting Wall Street expectations, while longer-term unemployment signs showed improvement, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
First-time filings for benefits dipped to 385,000 for the week ended July 31, a decline of 14,000 from the previous week as the jobs market remains essentially in a holding pattern during the economic recovery. The total hit the Dow Jones estimate exactly.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths weekly volatility, was little changed at 394,000.
Claims have circled largely in a range around the 400,000 level since mid-May, with employment rising in Covid-hit sectors such as leisure and…