Initial jobless claims rose 6.3% last week to 436,000 after coming in at the lowest level in two years the prior week. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Nov. 27 increased by 26,000 from the previous week’s figure of 410,000, which was revised slightly upward. Weekly claims remain stubbornly higher than 400,000. Most economists believe jobless claims lower than that threshold indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said the economy is growing somewhat, although housing remains depressed and a drag on the overall financial health of the nation. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected jobless claims to rise to 425,000 last week with a range of estimates from 412,000 to 440,000. A Briefing.com survey put the number at 415,000, and economists polled by MarketWatch expected 429,000 new claims. The four-week moving average declined by 5,750 to 431,000 claims, which is now at the lowest point since August 2008. The average for the week earlier was revised slightly upward to 436,750, according to the Labor Department data. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate stayed at 3.4% for the week ended Nov. 20, flat with the revised rate from the previous week. Meanwhile, thousands of unemployed Americans are set to lose federal benefits as Congress failed to agree on an extension. Write to Jason Philyaw.
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