Jobless Claims Set Another Record

626,000 claims filed last week, far more than expected
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2009 8:19 AM CST
A sign on the downtown civic plaza directs citizens who need to file unemployment information to a satellite location in Indiana.   (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
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(Newser) – New jobless claims jumped far more than expected last week in an already dismal labor market, and there's no relief in sight for workers as mass layoffs persist. The Labor Department reports that the number of laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose last week to 626,000 from the previous week's 591,000. The latest total exceeds expectations by 43,000.

That's also the most claims since October 1982. The number of people remaining on unemployment rolls has increased slightly to nearly 4.8 million, the most since record-keeping began in 1967. The numbers reflect the rapid deterioration in the labor market in recent weeks as more companies announce layoffs and displaced workers find it harder to land a new job.