US Layoffs Increase Slightly

Posted August 25th, 2011 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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The number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation rose slightly last week, boosted in part by a strike at a communications company.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department says jobless claims rose by 5,000 to a nationwide total of 417,000.

Some experts say without the strike at Verizon Communications the total number of layoffs would have declined slightly.

In a healthy job market, jobless claims are at 375,000 or lower. U.S. economic growth has not been strong enough to cut the current 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

Economists surveyed by news agencies predict that updated figures to be published Friday will show the U.S. economy expanded at a meager 1.1 percent annual rate in April, May, and June.

Jobs, growth and other issues will top the agenda at a gathering of key economists Friday, including U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Investors and economists have been speculating for several days if Bernanke will offer any new program to stimulate economic growth.