Jobless claims highest since Sept. 11 attacks

Unemployment filings surge to 516,000, number of Americans continuing on benefits at 25-year high.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance last week surged to the highest levels since the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the number of people continuing to collect benefits rose to a 25-year high, the government said Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial filings for state jobless benefits reached 516,000 for the week ended Nov. 8. That’s the highest total since the week ended Sept. 29, 2001, two weeks after the attacks against New York and Washington, when 517,000 initial claims were filed.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected 479,000 claims. This week, jobless filings increased by 32,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 484,000. Last year, the figure stood at 338,000.

The report is troubling because many economists expected jobless claims to hold from the week prior, according to Andrew Gledhill, economist at Moody’s Economy.com.

“The labor market is deteriorating more rapidly than previously thought,” he said.

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