November 23, 2005

Jobless claims up more than expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers filing
new claims for jobless benefits grew by a larger-than-expected
30,000 last week, government data showed on Wednesday, taking
claims to their highest point since mid-October.

Initial claims for state unemployment aid rose to a
seasonally adjusted 335,000 from a revised 305,000 the previous
week, the Labor Department said, compared with Wall Street
forecasts for 315,000 new claims. The previous week had
initially been reported at 303,000.

There were about 10,000 new, non-seasonally adjusted,
claims last week related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a
Labor Department analyst said, bringing the total number of
claims linked to the Gulf Coast storms to 555,000.

Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida late last month, added
about 11,000 unadjusted claims for a running total of 27,400.

A four-week moving average of claims, which smooths weekly
volatility to provide a better sense of underlying job-market
trends, rose 1,250 to 323,250, the highest since the week
ending November 5.

The number of unemployed workers who remained on the
benefit rolls after drawing an initial week of aid climbed
59,000 to 2.824 million in the week ended November 12, the
latest week for which figures are available. That was the
largest one-week rise since September.