Friday, January 23, 2009

Unemployment claims "surged last week"

The final week of the Bush Administration was a bad one for the U.S. Economy as the number of workers lining up for jobless benefits surged. In addition the number of new housing starts and permits hit record lows for the month of December. This is all evidence of an acceleration of the economy's sinking deeper into recession.

First time applications for state unemployment insurance benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 589,000 in the week ended January 17 from a revised 527,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

This was the highest level of initial claims since a matching reading in the week of December 20 and beat analysts' forecasts for a rise to 540,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 524,000 the week before.

The last time claims were higher was in 1982, when they notched a weekly rise of 612,000.

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