Jobless claims down but still stuck too high

New jobless claims dropped by 3,000 last week — still not enough to show the labor market is hiring. 

Claims dropped to 456,000 for the week ending June 5, which is not low enough to show sustained job growth, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. 

The four-week moving average, which smooths out the volatility of the weekly number, rose 2,500 to 463,000. 

The number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell 255,000 to 4.46 million, the lowest level since December 2008. 

Economists argue that jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector. 

The unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent in May on the creation of more than 400,000 jobs. But most of those jobs were temporary government jobs for the federal Census, not from the private sector.