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Old 11-19-2009, 08:50 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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New jobless benefit claims unchanged at 505K

The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment insurance was unchanged last week, remaining above the level that would indicate the economy is adding jobs.

Still, new claims which are considered a gauge of the pace of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers are down about 22 percent from this spring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims for jobless benefits were a seasonally adjusted 505,000, the same as the previous week's revised figure and matching analysts' expectations. A year ago, there were 533,000 initial claims.

The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, fell for the 11th straight week to 514,000, the lowest level in almost a year.

While the steady decline in claims is evidence that firings are decreasing, most economists say weekly claims would have to fall to about 425,000 for several weeks to signal that the economy is actually adding jobs. Some economists put the number higher, around 475,000.

Even as claims are falling and the economy has started growing, the unemployment rate is continuing to rise. It jumped to 10.2 percent in October from 9.8 percent, the highest level in more than 26 years, the government said earlier this month.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said early this week that the economy is likely to grow at a "moderate" pace. As a result, the jobless rate "likely will decline only slowly," he said in a speech Monday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091119/..._fi/us_economy
 
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