Jobless claims unexpectedly rise last week

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:01am EDT

Job seekers attend a large career fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Job seekers attend a large career fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, January 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to their highest level since January, a development that could raise fears the labor market recovery was stalling after job creation slowed in March.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised up to 367,000 from the previously reported 357,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 355,000 last week.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 4,250 to 368,500.

The claims data comes in the wake of Friday's disappointing employment report for March, which showed the economy created 120,000 new jobs, the smallest amount since October.

Despite the rise in claims last week, both first-time applications for unemployment aid and the four-week average held below the 400,000 mark, implying job gains above March's tally.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unexpected in the state-level data.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 98,000 to 3.25 million in the week ended March 31, possibly as many exhausted their benefits.

The unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 8.2 percent in March, mostly as people gave up the search for work.

The number of Americans on emergency unemployment benefits fell 20,555 to 2.79 million in the week ended March 24, the latest week for which data is available.

A total of 6.95 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs, down 97,833 from the prior week.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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Comments (4)
DetroitNative wrote:
I would probably guess we’re pushing 390,000 to 395,000 based on the average increase in figures after revision. This is a disturbing but expected upswing given the known economic factors at play. This news doesn’t bode well for Obama, but is more in line with what is actually going on out there. Unfortunately Wall Street is going to be taken back by this as they are living in the New York Bubble, and aren’t really in touch with the rest of the nation.

Apr 12, 2012 8:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Kyung wrote:
If they do not want the global economy to go into a tail spin then they need to keep lowering the US trade deficits until there are enough jobs in the US to keep up customer demand and lower the climbing US debt load that is a result of too many unemployed.

Apr 12, 2012 10:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:
We have new claimants filing while millions of others have their benefits run out AND millions more simply give up looking for work at all. Gas will rise. Food costs will go up with energy while the portions get smaller. Ipads and other bright shiny objects will drop in price while the necessities of life get more expensive. Anyone expecting anything else is insane. The usa cannot continue to borrow $0.70 of every dollar spent while printing money freely. The emperor is not only naked, he owes a couple trillion dollars to china.

Apr 12, 2012 10:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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