U.S. Jobs Claims Post Surprise Rise

Jobless claims increased by 18,000 to 460,000 in the week ending April 3.

New claims for unemployment insurance benefits in the United States unexpectedly rose last week, government data showed on April 8 in a mixed report on the troubled labor market.

Initial jobless claims increased by 18,000 to 460,000 in the week ending April 3, the Labor Department said, revising slightly upward the prior week's reading to 442,000.

The rise surprised most analysts who had expected new claims to fall to 435,000.

According to a four-week moving average, which smoothes some volatility in the weekly figures, new claims rose 0.5% to 450,250.

However, the weekly Labor Department report included encouraging signs of improvement in the jobs market, where nearly one in 10 workers is unemployed.

The number of those receiving jobless benefits fell 2.8% to 4,550,000, while the four-week moving average dropped 0.8% to 4,648,250.

Since the fiscal year began on October 1, the average number of those on the unemployment rolls was 5.236 million.

The initial claims report followed key March jobs data issued by the Labor Department on Friday, which showed the economy created 162,000 jobs, the biggest increase in three years, while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%.

According to the closely watched monthly report, the number of people who have not worked in more than six months rose by 414,000 in March, to 6.5 million people.

Since the recession began in December 2007, about eight million Americans have lost their jobs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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