By Mark Memmott

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose last week. But the Associated Press says the increase was less than expected after "two weeks of sharp drops."

According to the Employment and Training Administration, 434,000 people filed first-time claims, up by 1,000 from the week before. The AP says analysts had thought the figure would be around 447,000.

At times last year, first-time claims were running well above 600,000 per week.

Planet Money follows the economic news here.

categories: Economy

8:35 - January 7, 2010