Jobless claims up 12% in past 2 weeks
By Blake Ellis, staff reporterFebruary 25, 2010: 9:26 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance surged to just below the 500,000 level last week, and have climbed more than 12% over the past two weeks, the government said Thursday.
There were 496,000 initial job claims filed in the week ended Feb. 20, up 22,000 from a revised 474,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said in a weekly report. The prior week, there were 442,000 claims filed.
A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected new claims to fall to 460,000.
The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 473,750, up 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 467,750.
"This is certainly not surprising given the very adverse weather conditions for the eastern half of the country, especially in the major population areas," said Robert Dye, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services. "Weather has a huge impact, particularly with things like construction, which remains very soft."