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Applications for jobless aid rise sharply

Applications for jobless aid rise sharply

The number of people seeking jobless benefits jumped sharply last week, after two straight weeks of declines.
The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment aid rose 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000 for the week ending Oct. 30. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a smaller rise.
The increase comes after claims fell in four of the previous five weeks. Those drops had brought claims to their lowest level since July and raised hopes the job market was improving.
Instead, claims have risen back above the 450,000 level they have fluctuated around all year. They will need to drop below 425,000 to signal sustained job gains.
The weekly applications for unemployment benefits are volatile, but are considered a real-time snapshot of the job market. They reflect the pace of layoffs and indicate whether companies are hiring.
The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, rose 2,000 to 456,000.
Claims fell steadily last year, from about 600,000 in June 2009 when the recession ended to about 470,000 at the end of the year. There has been little improvement since then.
The unemployment claims report comes one day before the Labor Department is scheduled to release the jobs figures for October. Economists project that report will show that employers added a net total of 60,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate remained 9.6 percent for the third straight month.
That would be an improvement from September, when the economy lost 95,000 jobs. But September's figures were made worse by a loss of 77,000 temporary census workers. Few temporary census workers remain and won't have much impact on Friday's report.
The economy needs to add at least 200,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth and to help get some of the 15 million unemployed back to work.


Updated : 2020-11-30 01:21 GMT+08:00