Jobless claims spike

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose last week, according to a government report released Thursday.

There were 472,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 26, up 13,000 from an upwardly revised 459,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The number of claims was higher than expected. A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by expected 458,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims, which levels out volatility, was 466,500, the highest level since March. The figure was up 3,250 from the previous week's revised average of 463,250.

"This is another disappointing number, and adds to the gloom and doom we've been seeing in the economy for weeks now," said John Canally, economist at LPL Financial.

Some of the spike could be due to workers who held temporary census jobs filing for unemployment insurance as their positions end, Canally said, as well as workers who have lost jobs due to the oil spill.

But the impact of those losses won't be clear until August, he said.

Continuing claims: The number of people filing continuing claims jumped to 4,616,000 in the week ended June 19, the most recent data available. That was up 43,000 from the preceding week's upwardly revised 4,573,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 25,250 to 4,567,500 from the previous week's revised 4,592,750. That drop likely due to the more than 1 million people that are estimated to have exhausted their benefits since the deadline expired last month, Canally said.

The Senate failed to advance a bill Wednesday that included the unemployment benefits extension, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the chamber will take up the benefits bill again.

Continuing claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, or people who have exhausted their benefits.

State-by-state: Jobless claims in 11 states declined by more than 1,000 in the week ended June 19, the most recent state data available. Claims in Illinois dropped the most, by 3,711, which the state attributed to fewer layoffs in the trade and service industry.

Claims rose by more than 1,000 in five states, increasing the most in Michigan. Filings rose there by 1,251.  To top of page

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