U.S. New Jobless Claims Fall After Two Weeks of Increases

Unemployment rate at 9.4%

New claims for unemployment benefits dipped over the past week in a sign of modest improvement in the job situation for the recession-mired economy, the Labor Department said on August 27.

The seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell to 570,000 in the week ending August 22 from the previous week's revised figure of 580,000, the department said.

The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, was 565,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average of 571,000.

The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits also fell. According to the department, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment or continuing claims during the week ending August 15 was 6.133 million, a decrease of 119,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6.252 million.

The government announced that the jobless rate had fallen one-tenth of a point to 9.4% in July on narrowing job losses but analysts say the rate could soar to about 10% by year end even with an improving economy.

The latest data showed the economy contracted 1% in the second quarter from a 6.4% contraction in the first quarter and a drop of 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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