Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unemployment Claims Stay High

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that could dampen hopes of a pick-up in job creation in April after March's slowdown. 

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said. But the prior week's figure was revised up to 388,000 from the previously reported 380,000.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 5,500 to 374,750. 

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 370,000 last week. 

"The number suggests that improvement is slowing down," said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.

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