Initial Claims Spike after 3-Week Decline

December 28, 2001( - After falling for three consecutive weeks, the number of the unemployed lining up to claim unemployment benefits edged up by 7,000 in the week ending December 22, according to figures released by the US Department of Labor (DoL).

First-time unemployment benefit claims increased to 392,000 up from the previous week’s revised total of 385,000. The increase was smaller than analysts polled by Reuters had expected.

A year ago initial claims stood at 370,000, 6% lower than this week’s figures numbers.

The closely watched four-week moving average, considered a more accurate measure of the nation’ s unemployment picture because it smoothes out weekly fluctuations, fell by 25,250 to rest at 413,250, from the previous week’s revised total of 438,500.