Jobless claims rise unexpectedly

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance climbed unexpectedly last week.

There were 473,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 13, up 31,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised 442,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected claims to slide to 438,000.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims, which levels out volatility, was 467,000, down 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 469,000.

"We may have had some weather effects," said Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner, adding that the blizzards that battered the East Coast at the end of the previous week may have led people to delay filing unemployment claims to last week.

The 4-week moving average, he said, is a more accurate measure of where jobless claims currently stand.

"We're better than we were a few months ago, but I think the labor market is not improving as rapidly as we had hoped," Vitner said.

The Labor Department said employers shed a modest 20,000 jobs in January -- an improvement from the 150,000 that were lost in December -- and that the unemployment rate fell to 9.7%.

Economists expect businesses to add 10,000 jobs in February, but project the unemployment rate will rise to 9.8%. Vitner, on the other hand, doesn't expect nonfarm payrolls to move into positive territory until late spring.

Continuing claims: The number of people filing continuing claims in the week ended Feb. 6 was unchanged from the previous week's revised 4,563,000 claims.

Economists were expecting continuing claims to fall to 4,500,000.

Continuing claims reflect people filing each week after their initial benefit week until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved into state or federal extensions, or people whose benefits have expired.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 24,000 to 4,585,750 from the previous week's revised 4,609,750.

The slide may be signaling that more filers are dropping off those rolls into extended benefits.

State-by-state: Jobless claims in seven states declined by more than 1,000 in the week ended Feb. 6, the most recent state data available. Claims in California dropped the most, by 13,535, which the state attributed to fewer layoffs in the construction industry.

Claims rose by more than 1,000 in four states, increasing the most in Iowa. Filings rose there by 2,014 due to more layoffs in the construction industry, according to the state.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,098.45 18.88 0.11%
Nasdaq 4,580.27 22.58 0.50%
S&P 500 2,003.37 6.63 0.33%
Treasuries 2.34 0.01 0.39%
Data as of 1:01pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.09 0.08 0.50%
Apple Inc 102.50 0.25 0.24%
Intel Corp 34.92 0.27 0.78%
Facebook Inc 74.82 0.96 1.31%
General Electric Co 25.98 -0.03 -0.12%
Data as of Aug 29

Sections

The deal would value Vice at $2.5 billion. The online media company would also create content for the cable network, delivering a wider audience. More

Gas prices are falling to nearly $3 a gallon in some parts of South Carolina, and that will soon be common in much of the country. More

Netflix told the FCC that its speed on the Comcast network became so slow that customers began dropping their service. More

The Coolest Cooler is the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the site's history, raising $13.3 million from over 62,000 backers. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.