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US new jobless claims surge to 26-year high

The Labour Dept says the number of US workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 30,000 to 586,000 last week, the highest since Nov 1982.

world Updated: Dec 24, 2008 21:55 IST

The number of US workers filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped by 30,000 to a 26-year peak last week, government data on Wednesday showed, as the country's year-long recession continued to chill the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 586,000 in the week ended Dec 20 from a revised 556,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the highest since the week ending Nov 27, 1982.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 560,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 554,000 the week before.

A Labor Department official said there were no special factors influencing the data and no noticeable impact from severe winter weather in northern parts of the country.