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Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Soar to 1982 Levels

Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the United States soared to their highest level since 1982 with 573k people filing for benefits in the week ending Dec. 5, a figure much higher than expected, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday.

Initial jobless claims were forecast to rise to just 525k. The higher-than-expected figure follows last week's upwardly revised level of 515k.

The jump tops the 16-year high seen in the week ending Nov. 15 when initial claims soared to 543k. The all-time high for initial jobless claims is 695k, which was reached in October 1982.

The four-week moving average for initial claims remains above the half-a-million mark at 540,500, up from 526,250 in the previous week, which was the highest recorded since 1982.

This is only the third week that continuing claims have been above the four million mark, but marks the 30th straight week above three million. The four-week moving average is now 4.133 million, up from the moving average of 4.002 million in the previous week. The all-time high for continuing claims is 4.713 million, recorded in November 1982.

Claims have recently been higher than normal following two new sets of rules introduced by the Department of Labor that made filing for unemployment benefits easier.

Prior to the release, Christopher S. Rupkey, Chief Financial Economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, said the Nov. 21 bill extending benefits could impact today's numbers. "Initial claims can be boosted as extension claims get miscounted, and continuing claims can rise as there is less reason for workers to come off the unemployment rolls knowing benefits have been extended," he said.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Stephen Huebl
©CEP News Ltd. 2008


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More From MND

Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 3.98%
  • |
  • 15 Yr FRM 3.28%
  • |
  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 4.17%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 106-29 (-0-05)
  • |
  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 108-19 (-0-03)
  • |
  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 110-15 (-0-03)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps 3.27%
  • |
  • Refinance Index 5.05%
  • |
  • Purchase Index 1.43%