WASHINGTON Jan 29 The number of U.S. workers
filing new claims for jobless benefits rose 3,000 last week,
data on Thursday showed, while so-called continued claims hit
the highest level on record as the country's year-long
recession continued to chill employment.
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits
increased to a seasonally adjusted 588,000 in the week ended
Jan 24 from a revised 585,000 the prior week, the Labor
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 580,000 new claims
versus a previously reported count of 589,000 the week before.
The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after
drawing an initial week of aid, or continued claims, rose
159,000 to a higher-than-forecast 4.776 million in the week
ended Jan 17, the most recent week for which data is
The Labor Department said this was the highest reading
since its records on this series began in 1967. Analysts had
expected continued claims to be 4.65 million.
A Labor Department official said there were no special
factors impacting last week's initial claims numbers.
The four-week average of new jobless claims, a better gauge
of underlying labor trends because it irons out week-to-week
volatility, increased to 542,500 from 518,250 the week before.
This measure has mounted steadily as the U.S. housing slump
roils financial markets and spreads to the wider economy,
forcing lay-offs as firms slash costs to offset weaker income.
(Reporting by Alister Bull, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)