) -- The Labor Department announced today that the number of first-timers applying for unemployment benefits grew a bit more than expected.
According to a release on Thursday, initial claims grew by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 531,000 from an upwardly revised 520,000 sum. Many had forecast the number of new claims to jump to 515,000 from a pre-revised 514,000 total.
Still, the four-week moving average for first-timers, which tends to iron out wild fluctuations from week to week, fell by a subtle 750 to 532,250.
The number of those continuing to claim unemployment benefits -- which trail initial claims figures by a week -- also fell to 5.92 million from 6.02 million, though the 98,000 may be a reflection of jobless claimants exhausting their benefits.
With many still predicting the unemployment rate to top 10% in the months ahead,
each announced layoffs in October.
-- Written by Sung Moss in New York
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