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ECONOMY

Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

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Sobering: U.S. job machine still sputtering.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Weekly jobless claims climbed to 429,000 for the week ending June 18. It was the 11th consecutive week above 400,000, the level claims need to drop below to dent the unemployment rate.

Applications for initial jobless benefits for the week were up from a revised 420,000 the previous week, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The number of claims exceeded consensus predictions for a rise to 415,000 from an initially reported 414,000 for the previous week.

 

Unemployment Rate

Breaking its downward momentum, the unemployment rate increased 0.4 percent in May.

Roll over to see rates from Jan. 2001 to May 2011. Source: BLS; Graphic by Julia Edwards

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The number is the latest sign of a still-struggling labor market. Initial jobless claims, which reflect weekly firings, tend to drop off as job growth increases. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that job growth is “frustratingly slow” as the Fed lowered its projections for employment, predicting the jobless rate would be between 8.6 percent and 8.9 percent at the end of 2011, revised upward from the April projection of 8.4 percent to 8.7 percent.

 

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, which is a less volatile gauge of labor-market trends, was unchanged from the previous week at 426,250.

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