Jobless Claims See Increase

May 13, 2004 ( - For the first time in a while, the number of unemployed Americans filing for initial benefits rose during the week ending May 8.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), the first-time claims were up 13,000 to 331,000. The silver lining, however, was that the four-week moving claims average – which smoothes weekly volatility – fell 7,750 to 335,750. That was its lowest since November 2000.

The number of Americans still on the benefit rolls after claiming a first week of aid rose 53,000 to 2.97 million in the week ended May 1. The increase came after a week in which the so-called continued claims figure hit its lowest point since June 2001.

Economists participating in Reuters’ regular survey had predicted initial claims would rise to 321,000 from the 315,000 initially reported for the May 1 week.