Initial unemployment insurance claims rose 19,000 in the week ending July 31, marking a departure from market expectations of a small decline last week. Jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 479,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised figure of 460,000, according to new data today from the US Department of Labor. The four-week moving average rose 5,250 to 458,500. Economists had expected initial claims to slip by 4,000 to 453,000 this week, according to a post at Market Watch. This week’s gain in claims looks even larger against last week’s initial estimate of 457,000. No single state reported an increase of more than 1,000 claims in the week ending July 24. Of the states with the largest declines, California, New York and North Carolina reported fewer layoffs in the service, construction and manufacturing industries, the DOL said today. The growth in initial jobless claims this week arrives after unemployment benefits were recently extended. President Barack Obama in July signed the bill that extends unemployment benefits. The law extends the cutoff for benefits from June 2 to November 30. Unemployed citizens will continue to receive payments for 73 weeks after that, for a total of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The law works in concert with Home Affordable Unemployment Program, which gives qualified homeowners the ability to borrow up to $50,000 to assist them with their mortgage, provided that they have a reasonable prospect of resuming payments within 24 months. Write to Diana Golobay.
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