- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2009

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance increased last week by 32,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Unemployed workers filed 637,000 claims in the week ending May 9, compared to 605,000 filed in the previous week.

The number of continuing claims also increased last week, to 6.6 million — a record high for 15 straight weeks and 202,000 more than the 6.36 million filed in the preceding week.

The number of unemployed people in the United States is now 13.7 million.

Roughly 5.7 million jobs have been lost since the recession started in December 2007. The unemployment rate this month is 8.9 percent, up 0.4 percent from April.

The highest insured-unemployment rate in the week ending April 25 was in Michigan, 7.8 percent. The number suggests a large number of layoffs at major auto factories.

Michigan was followed by Oregon, 7.5; Pennsylvania, 6.5; and Wisconsin, 6.4.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 2 were in Illinois, 2,052; Kansas, 2,025; and Puerto Rico, 1,781.

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