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News > Economy
Jobless claims jump
New weekly claims for unemployment benefits once again cross benchmark 400,000 level.
September 4, 2003: 8:42 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Jobless claims jumped last week, the government said Thursday, higher than Wall Street analysts expected, to a level above the benchmark 400,000 that signifies job-market weakness.

The Labor Department report said 413,000 people filed for benefits in the week ended Aug. 30, compared with a revised reading of 398,000 in the prior week. Economists, on average, expected 390,000 new claims, according to a Reuters poll.

Many economists view 400,000 as the sign of a soft job market. Claims were above 400,000 from mid-February to mid-July, 22 straight weeks. Claims dropped in late August to the lowest level since early February, though the data in July and August were skewed somewhat by summer factory shutdowns.

The four-week moving average of new claims, which irons out the volatility of the weekly data, rose to 401,500 from a revised 397,250 the prior week.

Continued claims, the number of people out of work for a week or more, rose to 3.66 million for the week ended Aug. 23, the latest data available, from a revised 3.64 million the prior week.

U.S. stock market futures had little reaction to the report, pointing to a mixed opening on Wall Street. Treasury bond prices rose.  Top of page

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