Jobless Claims Tick up by 6,000

February 12, 2004 ( - First-time claims for unemployment benefits last week bumped up unexpectedly by 6,000 to 363,000 from the previous week's revised 357,000.

According to the US Department of Labor (DoL), the closely watched four-week moving average for the week ending February 7 was 350,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised 345,500 (See  Jobless Total Shoots Up by 17,000 ). Analysts say the average helps iron out short-term volatility.

One bright spot was that the number of jobless Americans forced to cling to the unemployment rolls because of difficulty finding work dropped by 23,000 to 3.08 million for the week ending January 31.

Economists participating in Reuters’ weekly poll had predicted a claims drop to  345,000.