First-time unemployment filings edge higher

@CNNMoney November 23, 2011: 8:39 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits crept back up last week, after easing to a 7-month low in the previous week, but remained below a key threshold for gauging the job market.

There were 393,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Nov. 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was up 2,000 from the week before, when initial claims dropped to a 7-month low.

The weekly figures were worse than the 391,000 claims economists surveyed by had expected. But a level below 400,000 is typically associated with payroll growth.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, calculated to smooth out volatility, fell 3,250 to 394,250 last week.

Where the jobs will be and how to get them

Continuing claims -- which include people filing for the second week of benefits or more -- ticked up by 68,000 to 3,691,000 in the week ended Nov. 12.

Economists were expecting continuing claims to edge down to 3,620,000.

The four-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 2,250 to 3,671,500 from the preceding week's revised 3,673,750.

The weekly jobless claims data follows a government report issued Tuesday indicating that economic growth slowed much more than expected in the third quarter.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic output, grew at a 2% annual rate in the quarter, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's down from 2.5% growth originally reported last month.  To top of page

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