Initial Jobless Claims Figure Dips

February 21, 2002 ( - After falling for two consecutive weeks, the number of first time jobless benefits claimants edged up by 10,000 in the week ending February 16, according to data just released by the Department of Labor.

After recovering slightly in recent weeks, the job market took one step back, with initial unemployment benefits claims rising to 383,000, from 373,000 the previous week – disappointing economists who had expected the figure to remain level.

The four-week moving average, considered a better gauge of the unemployment situation, also increased. After falling for five consecutive weeks, it rose to 381,750 from 376,000 the previous week.