Unemployment filings top key 400,000 level

@CNNMoney December 1, 2011: 8:47 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose again last week to their highest level in a month.

There were 402,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Nov. 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was up 6,000 from the week before and marked the highest level since the week of Oct. 22.

Economists typically look for the initial claims number to fall below the 400,000 level to signal job growth is strong enough for the unemployment rate to come down.

Meanwhile, continuing claims -- which include Americans filing for their second week of claims or more -- also rose for the second week in a row. In the week ended Nov. 19, the most recent week available, continuing claims rose to 3,740,000, marking a 35,000 increase from the week before.

Just two weeks earlier, continuing claims had been at their lowest level since September 2008.

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The report came a day ahead of a closely watched report on monthly job creation. A CNNMoney survey of 21 economists forecasts that the economy added 110,000 jobs in November. That's compared to October, when 80,000 jobs were added to payrolls.

The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 9%. To top of page

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