NPR logo New Job-Loss Claims Fall, Rise At Same Time. The Big Number Comes Tomorrow.

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New Job-Loss Claims Fall, Rise At Same Time. The Big Number Comes Tomorrow.

New claims for unemployment insurance ticked downward last week by 4,000, to 570,000, the Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average, which generally smooths out the blips of any given period, showed an increase of 4,000 from the week before.

Economists consider a healthy number of new weekly claims to be between 300,000 and 350,000. Whatever's going on with the numbers — and the big August unemployment report should help fill in the picture Friday — we're nowhere near normal.

As of August 22, some 6,234,000 were collecting unemployment benefits, up 92,000 from the week before. As of August 15, another 3 million people were receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation, a federally funded program that allows for 33 additional weeks of benefits in high-unemployment states. The emergency benefits rolls grew by 85,570 from the week before.

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