Reuters (06/28/12) Lucia Mutikani
First-time filings for jobless benefits last week fell slightly but remained near the highest level of the year, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Initial claims declined by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 in the week ended June 23. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 392,000 from the previously reported 387,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims easing to 385,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, slipped 750 to 386,750. First-time claims have totaled 380,000 or higher over the past five weeks, a level usually associated with mediocre hiring trends.