(NEWSnet/AP) — Unemployment claims for the week ending July 6 fell by 17,000 to 222,000, from 239,000 the previous week, U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The number of U.S. residents collecting unemployment benefits declined for the first time in 10 weeks. About 1.85 million were collecting jobless benefits for the week of June 29, around 4,000 fewer than the previous week.

Economists say that because so-called continuing claims have been on the rise in recent months, it suggests that some who are receiving unemployment benefits are finding it more challenging to land jobs.

The four-week average of claims fell by 5,250, to 233,500.

Until last week, applications for jobless benefits were trending higher in June, after staying mostly below 220,000 in 2024. The unemployment rate rose 4.1% in June, despite the fact that employers added 206,000 jobs.

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