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December 11, 2009

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Climb In Jobless Americans Seeking Benefits

THE number of newly laid-off American workers seeking jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, after falling for five straight weeks.

Despite the increase, claims have fallen steadily since the summer, a sign that job cuts are slowing and hiring could pick up as soon as early next year amid a broad economic recovery.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000, the US Labor Department said yesterday. That was above analysts' expectations of 460,000 new claims.

Claims were partly inflated by a surge following the Thanksgiving holiday week, when many state unemployment offices were closed, a department analyst said. Seasonal layoffs in the building industry were also cited.

Initial claims are viewed as a gauge of the pace of layoffs and a sign of firms' willingness to hire new workers.


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