Jobless Claim Rise Is Discounted

By John S. McClenahen Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 366,000 last week, up 13,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 353,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Nov. 13. However, the department's four-week moving average for initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, continued to decline. Last week the average was 375,250 claims, some 6,000 fewer than the previous week's revised average of 381,250. Significantly, both the one-week number and four-week average remain well below 400,000, suggesting, in contrast to just a few months ago, that the U.S. economy is indeed generating new jobs. "The continued downtrend in initial and continuing jobless claims suggests that hiring is continuing and possibly even accelerating this month," says Maury Harris chief U.S. economist at USB Investment Research, New York.

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