New claims for unemployment benefits in the United States were nearly flat at 387,000 last week, showing little change from recent poor data, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.
The figures indicated the pace of layoffs across the country has been on the upswing, coming in 2,000 below the previous week's, with the four-week moving average showing a slight rising trend.
The halt to improvement in the jobless claims gains over the past several weeks parallels a slowdown in job creation, freezing the country's overall unemployment rate at just above the 8% level.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday slashed its estimate for the economy's growth this year by a half point, and projected unemployment would be higher than it thought just two months ago.
The Fed projected gross domestic product would grow a maximum of 2.4% by the end of the year, and the jobless rate would rise to as high as 8.2%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012