New Unemployment Claims Jump Higher Than Expected
The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 654,000 in February, a higher level than expected, government data out today show, while retail sales fell for the seventh time in eight months.
Most economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 645,000. However, it turns out that there were 6,000 more claims filed the previous week than was initially reported.
The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure, rose to 650,000, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week. There are now a record 5.3 million people collecting unemployment benefits.
In the face of mounting job losses, consumers continue to spend less. Retail sales fell 0.1 percent in February, which was less than the 0.5 percent decline most analysts had expected. However, sales were down 8.6 percent compared with a year earlier.
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