New Jobless Claims Rise

By Agence France-Presse The number of people making new claims for U.S. jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week to the highest level in a year, the government said April 24. New claimants in the week to April 19 increased 8,000 to 455,000, the highest since March 2002, the seasonally adjusted Labor Department figures showed. The increase defied Wall Street economists' forecasts for a decline in claims. "The rise in jobless claims probably reflects the spike in layoff announcements that occurred during the war period," Wachovia Corp. senior economist Mark Vitner said. "Now that the war is over, layoff announcements have subsided, and jobless claims should taper off in coming weeks." A four-week average of new jobless claims climbed 13,250 to 439,250, the biggest number since April 2002. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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