Jobless Claims Hit 9-Month High

Reach 500K mark as employers again cut back
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 19, 2010 8:29 AM CDT
Jobless Claims Hit 9-Month High
In this photo made June 22, 2010, Joseph Byrd, unemployed and living on disability, prepares to pick up groceries at the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger food pantry, which serves upwards of 10,000 low-income individuals monthly in Brooklyn, N.Y.    (Bebeto Matthews)

New applications for unemployment insurance reached the half-million mark last week for the first time since November, a sign that employers are likely cutting jobs again as the economy slows. The Labor Department said today that initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 last week to 500,000, the fourth increase in the past five weeks. Wall Street economists forecast that claims would drop.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose by 8,000 to 482,500, the highest since December. There were no special factors that distorted the numbers, a Labor Department analyst said. The increase suggests the economy is creating even fewer jobs than in the first half of this year, when private employers added an average of about 100,000 jobs per month—barely enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising. (More unemployment stories.)

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