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Applications for Unemployment Aid Soar to 9-Month High

Job seekers line up to enter a career fair in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: AP

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits increased by 10,000 for the week ending Dec. 14, bringing the total to 379,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 369,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

This is the second week in a row that applications have risen. It is also the highest posting since March.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 13,250, bringing the total to 343,500, up from the previous unrevised average of 330,250.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending December 7, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the Labor Department said.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 7 was 2,884,000, an increase of 94,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,790,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,799,000, an increase of 4,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,794,750,” the report added.

Approximately 4.4 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ended Nov. 30, the Associated Press reported, citing the latest data available.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Dec. 7 were California (+21,876), New York (+14,322), Pennsylvania (+14,004), Georgia (+11,582), and Texas (+9,761).

Meanwhile, Ohio (-1,095), Kentucky (-838), Vermont (-400), Massachusetts (-317), and New Mexico (-176) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Despite the report, markets are still poised to open higher, held steady by Wednesday’s “taper” announcement and the passage of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement:

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