February 12, 2009

Jobless claims down slightly in week

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits declined by 8,000 during the week ending Feb. 7, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The 623,000 initial benefits claims contributed to a four-week rolling average of 607,500, which was an increased of 24,000 from from the previous week's rolling average of 583,500.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent.

The biggest increases in claims for the week ending Jan. 31 were reported by California with 20,001 additional claims; North Carolina, which added 8,663; and Ohio, which added 4,738, the report said.

State-by-state statistics lag a week behind the national report.

For the week ending Jan. 31, the biggest decreases in jobless insurance benefits claims were reported by Virginia with a decline of 1,937; New Jersey, declining by 1,551; and Missouri, reporting 1,370 fewer claims than the week of Jan. 24.