Weekly Jobless Claims Flat

Showing trend of slowing job losses

Initial claims for U.S. jobless insurance benefits were unchanged last week, official data showed Nov. 19 in a sign of stablization of the troubled labor market.

The seasonally adjusted number of new unemployment claims in the week ending November 14 remained unchanged at 505,000, slightly higher than the 504,000 expected by most economists, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell to 514,000, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week's revised average of 520,500.

The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits also fell. The Labor Department's figures showed the number of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 7 was 5.611 million, a decrease of 39,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 5.65 million.

The latest initial claims reading supported a trend of slowing job losses since a March peak and was the lowest since January.

The U.S. unemployment rate shot up to 10.2% in October as another 190,000 jobs were shed, the government said earlier this month.

The U.S. House of Representatives may pass a new economic stimulus bill by December 18 in a bid to combat unemployment, a top congressional ally of President Barack Obama said on Nov. 17. Obama has also called for jobs "summit" to be held at the White House next month in a bid to combat joblessness.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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