- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance decreased last week by 13,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Unemployed workers filed 623,000 state claims in the week ending May 23, compared to the previous week’s revised number of 636,000.

However, the number of continuing claims increased to 6.79 million for the week ending May 16, a record high for 17 straight weeks and 110,000 more than the preceding week’s revised number of 6.68 million.

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The U.S. unemployment rate is now 8.9 percent. The number of unemployed U.S. workers was 13.7 million in April, according to the federal government.

Michigan had the largest decreases in first-time claims, 9,758 fewer, which officials attributed to less layoffs in the automobile industry.

The states with the highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 9 were Oregon, 7.3 percent; Michigan, 7.1 percent; and Pennsylvania, 6.4 percent.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 16 were in California, 5,447; North Carolina, 2,693; and Georgia, 1,595.

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