U.S. jobless claims touch 9-mth high

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – New U.S. claims for
unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high
last week, government data showed on Thursday, yet another
setback to the frail economic recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased
12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 500,000 in the week ended
August 14, the highest since mid-November, the Labor Department
said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to
476,000 from the previously reported 484,000 the prior week,
which was revised up to 488,000 in Thursday’s report.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual
in the state level data. The data covered the survey week for
the government’s closely watched employment report for August,
scheduled for release early next month.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, considered a
better measure of underlying labor market trends as it irons
out week-to-week volatility, rose 8,000 to 482,500, the highest
since early December.

Claims for unemployment benefits have been stuck at lofty
levels for much of this year, which many economists say points
to unemployment staying uncomfortably high for some time.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an
initial week of aid fell 13,000 to 4.48 million in the week
ended August 7 from an upwardly revised 4.49 million the prior
week. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast so-called
continuing claims rising to 4.50 million from a previously
reported 4.45 million.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the
percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, was
unchanged at 3.5 percent during that period.

The number of people on emergency benefits increased
260,105 to 4.75 million in the week ended July 31.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. jobless claims touch 9-mth high