WASHINGTON — The tally of newly laid-off workers requesting unemployment benefits rose last week after four weeks of flat or declining figures.
The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless aid rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 465,000. Many economists had expected a flat reading or a small drop.
The rise suggests that jobs remain scarce and some companies are still cutting workers amid sluggish economic growth. Initial claims have fallen from a recent spike of more than half-million last month. But they have been stuck above the 450,000 level for most of the year.
The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, declined by 3,250 to 463,250. That’s the lowest level since the end of July, but down by only 4,000 since January.
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