Lines for Unemployment Claims Grow Longer

May 31, 2001 ( - The latest Department of Labor data releases show the lines of people signing up for first time unemployment benefits growing longer by 8,000 for the work-week ending May 26.

The total reached a monthly high of 419,000, after the previous week’s revised total of 411,000. However, the more stable four-week moving average, a better indicator of unemployment, fell to 402,500, from 404,000 in the previous week, the lowest level since April 21.

In an indication that the pace of hiring continues to decline, the number of unemployed continuing to claim benefits came in at 2.85 million last week from 2.76 million the previous week. Continued claims are at the highest level since November 1993.

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The data comes ahead of tomorrow’s release of May’s unemployment rate, a key economic indicator, which analysts polled by Reuters expect to increase to 4.6%