WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – New U.S. claims for
unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week, government
data showed on Thursday, highlighting continued labor market
weakness.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased
12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 465,000, the Labor Department
said, breaking two straight weeks of declines.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims unchanged at
450,000. The government revised the prior week’s figure up to
453,000.
Last week’s claims data covered the survey period for the
government’s closely watched employment report for September,
scheduled for release early next month.
A Labor Department official said only one state had been
estimated for last week’s claims report and noted that
applications for jobless benefits tend to rise in the week
following a holiday.
The four-week average of new jobless claims, considered a
better measure of underlying labor market trends, fell 3,250 to
463,250, the lowest since July 31.
The labor market has been showing modest signs of
improvement after a setback in the second quarter as economic
growth slowed sharply.
Relentlessly high unemployment is crimping consumer
spending and the Federal Reserve on Tuesday signaled it was
ready to inject more money into the economy to shore up the
recovery and avert a damaging downward spiral in prices.
Despite the bump up in new applications for unemployment
benefits, claims are holding well below a nine-month high of
504,000 touched in mid-August.
The number of people still receiving benefits after an
initial week of aid dropped 48,000 to 4.49 million in the week
ended Sept. 11 from an upwardly revised 4.54 million the prior
week.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast so-called
continuing claims slipping to 4.46 million from a previously
reported 4.49 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which measures the
percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, dipped
to 3.5 percent during that period from 3.6 percent the prior
week.
The number of people on emergency benefits increased
113,785 to 4.2 million in the week ended Sept. 4

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