- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

First-time claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, but the four-week moving average declined slightly, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The stock market reacted favorably to the news, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 150 points in early morning trading.

Initial claims jumped 25,000 to 584,000 for the week ending July 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average fell 8,250 to 559,000.

For the week ending July 18, the number of continuing claims for unemployment benefits declined by 54,000 to 6.2 million, the lowest level since April 11.

Workers whose regular jobless benefits expire after the normal 26-week period and who continue to remain unemployed can apply for extended benefits through the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.

For the week ending July 11, workers collecting EUC benefits increased by 24,518 to a total of 2.66 million. A year ago, only about 127,000 workers were collecting EUC benefits.

The number of workers receiving extended benefits dropped by 37,000, falling to 352,000, the Labor Department reported.

Altogether, nearly 10 million people were collecting jobless benefits for the week ending July 11.

The states with the largest increases in initial jobless claims last week were California (4,290), Michigan (3,654) and Florida (3,291).

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