November 26, 2008 / 1:37 PM / 11 years ago

Weekly jobless claims fell last week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 last week, Labor Department data showed on Wednesday, but remained at levels consistent with a deteriorating labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits were a seasonally adjusted 529,000 in the week ended November 22 from an upwardly revised 543,000 the previous week.

A Labor Department official said there were no special factors influencing the report. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 537,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 542,000 the week before.

The four-week moving average of new jobless claims, a better gauge of underlying labor trends because it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose to 518,000 from 507,000 the week before, the highest reading since a matching 518,000 in January 1983.

Continuing claims eased to 3.96 million in the week ended November 15, the latest data available, from 4.02 million the prior week.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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