Unemployment Benefit Claims Fluctuating in US

Posted October 18th, 2012 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Weekly claims for unemployment compensation surged in the U.S. last week, but the government said the increase was largely the result of a seasonal correction of the data.

A week ago, the government said the initial claims had fallen sharply. But Thursday, the U.S. said the number of initial applications for jobless aid jumped 46,000 last week to 388,000, the highest level in four months.

The government said both weeks' statistics were distorted by seasonal adjustments that often occur at the start of a new quarter of the year, such as at the beginning of October.

Analysts said the average of the number of claims the last two weeks — 365,000 — is in line with recent trends in the U.S. labor market that show a modest pace of new hiring.

The country's unemployment rate was pegged at 7.8 percent in September, the first time it had dropped below the 8 percent level in nearly four years. About 12 million workers remain unemployed.