Jobless claims on the rise

New applications for unemployment insurance rise to 455,000, a figure worse than expected by economists.

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By Lara Moscrip, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of out-of-work Americans who signed up for jobless benefits rose last week, the government reported Thursday, surprising economists who expected fewer claims.

The Labor Department said applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 455,000, up by 10,000 from the prior week. That was above analysts' expectations of 440,000, according to a consensus compiled by Briefing.com. A year ago, initial claims stood at 319,000.

The four-week seasonally adjusted moving average of new jobless claims rose 5,000 to 445,000 in the past week. The average is used to smooth out weekly fluctuations and it stood at 323,250 a year ago.

A reading above 400,000 indicates weakness in employment.

The number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits fell by 55,000, to 3.48 million in the week ended Sept. 6., compared with 2.56 million people a year ago.

The four-week moving claims average for those continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose by 29,750 to 3.46 million, compared with 2.58 million a year ago.

Earlier this month, the government reported that there were 84,000 jobs lost in August, bringing to 605,000 the number of jobs cut from payrolls by U.S. employers in the first eight months of the year.

The unemployment rate surged to 6.1% last month, a nearly five-year high and up from 5.7% in July.

On Monday, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) announced plans to cut about 24,000 employees and on Wednesday auto supplier Federal-Mogul (FDMU) said it is cutting its work force by 4,000 jobs.

North Carolina reported significant increases in initial filings, with layoffs in construction, furniture and transportation. Wisconsin also noted a surge in filings due to layoffs in manufacturing and construction. Texas and California both reported fewer layoffs in the service industry.  To top of page

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