Jobless Claims Rise

By John S. McClenahen Initial claims for unemployment insurance, a closely watched indicator of overall U.S. labor market conditions, rose last week to 365,000, higher than economists generally expected. The figure for the week ending Nov. 29 was 11,000 higher than the previous week's revised figure of 354,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Dec. 4. The department's four-week moving average of initial claims, which smoothes out week-to-week variations, also increased last week, rising to 362,500, some 3,000 higher than the previous week's revised average of 359,500. One week's numbers, however, do not constitute a cause for concern. Indeed, it's reassuring that both the most recent weekly and four-week figures remain well below the 400,000 claims mark that economists say separates an improving labor market from a deteriorating market.

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