More bad jobs news underpinning the idea that the real economy is not in the great place that pro-stimulus defenders would like for everyone to believe:
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 480,000. Wall Street economists had expected a drop to 460,000, according to Thomson Reuters.
The four-week average, which smooths fluctuations, rose for the third straight week to 468,750.
The figure is the highest in the past two months. Initial claims dropped sharply in late December, raising hopes among economists that layoffs were nearing an end and the economy would soon start generating net gains in jobs.
The figures come a day before the Labor Department is scheduled to report the January employment figures, which are expected to show a tiny gain in jobs. The unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 10.1 percent.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits was unchanged at 4.6 million. That data lags initial claims by a week.
But the so-called continuing claims do not include millions of people who have used up the regular 26 weeks of benefits typically provided by states, and are receiving extended benefits for up to 73 additional weeks, paid for by the federal government.
More than 5.8 million people were receiving extended benefits in the week ended Jan. 16, the latest data available, up from about 5.6 million the previous week. The extended benefit data isn't seasonally adjusted and is volatile from week to week.
See the whole AP article here.