Jobless Claims Rise On Bad Weather and Jobless Claims Jump To 3-Month High, In Latest Troubling 2010 Economic Data

In addition, many state agencies in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions that process the claims were closed due to the storms and are now clearing out backlogs, a Labor Department analyst said.

Still, the increase is likely to amplify concerns that the job market is weakening, potentially slowing the economic recovery.

The Commerce Department said in a second report that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods shot up in January by 3%, the most in six months. But much of that gain resulted from a surge in orders for aircraft. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders fell by 0.6%, a weaker showing than economists predicted.

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The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 496,000. Analysts expected a drop to 460,000 from 474,000 a week earlier.

The four-week average has risen by about 30,000 in the past month, raising concerns that job cuts are continuing. [Read the full article]

Stocks also were choppy, selling off early on the labor data and Moody’s warning that it might downgrade Greek debt. But they recouped most of their losses. The Dow fell 0.5%, the S&P 500 0.2% and the Nasdaq 0.1%.

New claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly jumped by 22,000 in the week ended Feb. 20 to 496,000, the most since mid-November, the Labor Department said. Wall Street expected a drop to 460,000.

Orders for long-lasting durable goods jumped a greater-than-expected 3% in January as demand for commercial aircraft more than doubled, the Commerce Department said. But orders excluding transportation unexpectedly fell 0.6%, the biggest decline in five months.

“It’s absolutely clear that we’re seeing some slowing in many indicators of economic activity,” said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at Woodley Park Research.

New home sales plunged to a record low in January while consumers’ view of current conditions tumbled to a 27-year low in February. [Read the full article]

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