- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2009

The number of first-time and continuing unemployment claims has increased in recent weeks, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

First-time state claims increased to 627,000 for the week ending June 20, which was 15,000 more than the preceding week’s revised number of 612,000.

Continuing claims increased to 6.74 million for the week ending June 13, roughly 29,000 more than the preceding week’s revised number of 6.71 million.

The U.S. unemployment rate is now at 9.4 percent. Roughly 6 million jobs have been lost since the recession began 19 months ago, according to the most recent Labor Department reports.

Michigan continues to have the highest unemployment rate, 14.1 percent in May.

Oregon followed at 12.4 percent, and South Carolina and Rhode Island each had a 12.1 percent jobless rate last month.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 13 were in Florida, 8,383; Pennsylvania, 3,191; and Missouri, 2,874.

Florida officials attributed the increase to more layoffs in the construction, trade, service and manufacturing industries and in agriculture.

Pennsylvania said more layoffs in the transportation equipment, transportation and service industries resulted in more claims.

Missouri officials attributed the increase to more layoffs in the construction, transportation, warehousing and manufacturing industries.

The largest decreases were in Michigan, 5,414; New York, 5,299; and North Carolina, 4,714.

Michigan officials attributed the decrease to fewer layoffs in the automobile industry.

New York said fewer layoffs in the construction, trade and service industries resulted in fewer claims.

North Carolina officials attributed the decrease to fewer layoffs in the transportation, textile, furniture and construction industries.

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