More new jobless claims than expected

December 24, 2008 5:55:12 AM PST
The government says new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week as layoffs spread throughout the economy.

The Labor Department says initial requests for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 586,000 in the week ending Dec. 20, from an upwardly revised figure of 556,000 the previous week. That's much more than the 560,000 economists had expected.

The number of initial claims is the highest since November 1982, though the work force has grown by about half since then.

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