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Unemployment aid applications jump to 388,000

8:14 AM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
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CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase represents a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors.

The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell slightly to 365,500, a level consistent with modest hiring.

Last week, California reported a large drop in applications, pushing down the overall figure to the lowest since February 2008. This week, it reported a significant increase as it processed applications delayed from the previous week.

A department spokesman says the seasonally adjusted numbers "are being distorted ... by an issue of timing."

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they decline, it suggests hiring is improving.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

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