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U.S. jobless claims tick up slightly

11-24-2011 15:57 BJT

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid last week edged higher after declining steadily in the past two months, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The Labor Department said that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 393,000 in the week ending Nov. 19, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure.

Fewer than 425,000 people applying for aid is consistent with modest job growth, but the number of jobless claims will have to fall to 375,000 or below to signal a sustained drop in the unemployment rate.

However, the four-week moving average, which more closely watched claims figure, continued to dip to 394,250, the lowest level since April.

The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 12 was 3.691 million, an increase of 68,000 from one week earlier.

The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 9 percent from 9.1 percent in October. However, few experts believe that the job market will return to normal levels in the short term due to weaker economic growth.

The U.S. economic growth rate was downwardly revised to an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter from the previous estimate of 2.5 percent, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

The weekly figures of jobless benefits application reflect the level of layoffs and indicate real-time condition of the American job market.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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