Thursday, April 2, 2009
The number of new jobless claims in the United States rose more than expected last week to a 26-year high as employers slashed payrolls amid a recession, government data showed Thursday.
The Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 in the week ending March 28, a 1.8 percent increase from the previous week and the highest level since early October 1982.
The department said claims filed in the week ending March 21 were revised higher to 657,000 from 652,000. Most analysts had forecast jobless claims would fall to 650,000 last week.
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The four-week moving average of initial claims, a more reliable indicator of unemployment trends, was 656,750, the highest level since mid-October 1982. The rolling indicator marked an increase of 6,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 650,250.
During the week ending March 21, the insured unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent, a 0.1 percentage point gain from the previous week’s unrevised 4.2 percent. The jobless rate was the highest since late May 1983.
In the same week, the number of people claiming unemployment insurance benefits leapt by 161,000 to 5.728 million, an all-time high for the data that has been tracked since 1967.
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