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Initial jobless claims plunge

The number of people filing initial jobless claims drops 53,000 to 610,000. Continuing claims break record at 6 million.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Initial jobless claims plunged to 610,000 in the week ended April 11, reported the U.S. Department of Labor.

That's a decline of 53,000 from the prior week, which the government revised to 663,000.

Initial claims measure the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time.

Meanwhile, a record 6 million-plus continued to file unemployment claims during the week ended April 4, the most recent week for which data are available. That's up 172,000 from the prior week's revised tally of 5.85 million.

Initial jobless claims were expected to total 658,000 in the week ended April 11, according to a consensus of economist forecasts compiled by Briefing.com.

John Lonski, chief economist for Moody's Investors Service, said he puts more of his focus on the continuing claims number - and its pessimistic outlook - than the weekly tally.

"That tells you that things are getting worse and we're going to see another rise in the unemployment rate, and that's not good news," said Lonski.

The job market is one of the most important foundations of the economy, and one of the greatest causes for concern. Earlier this month, the government reported that two million jobs were lost through March 2009, bringing the nation's unemployment rate up to 8.5%.  To top of page

Initial jobless claims plunged to 610,000 in the week ended April 11, which was much lower than expected, reported the U.S. Department.
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