U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Jump for Second Month

Unemployment rate jumps to 9.4%

New claims for unemployment benefits climbed for the second consecutive week last week, the Labor Department said on June 25 as employers cut payrolls to cope with a brutal recession.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 627,000 in the week ended June 20 from an upwardly revised 612,000 claims in the prior week. The four-week moving average was 617,250, an increase of 500 from the previous week's revised average of 616,750, the department said.

In the week ended June 13, the data showed 6.738 million workers were claiming unemployment benefits, an increase of 29,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6.709 million.

The insured unemployment rate was an unchanged 5.0 percent from the previous week.

The latest monthly labor report for May, seen as one of the best indicators of economic momentum, offered conflicting signals about a weak labor market, but suggested that the pace of massive job cuts appeared to be easing.

Some 345,000 nonfarm jobs were shed in May about half the monthly decline of the past six months.

But the unemployment rate, based on a separate survey of households, rose sharply from 8.9% to a worse-than-expected 9.4%, the highest level since August 1983.

President Barack Obama warned this week that "it's pretty clear now that unemployment will end up going over 10%" and said it would take time for an economic recovery to translate into job growth.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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