Jobless Claims at 27-Year High

Initial unemployment claims rose 36,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 667,000 in the week ended Feb. 21 — the highest level in 27 years, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Initial claims on a seasonally adjusted basis have not been higher since the first week of October, 1982. Initial claims for the third week of February were 95 percent higher than the year-ago level of 342,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 639,000. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.8 percent for the previous week ending Feb. 14. The advance number fro seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the same week was 5,112,000, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous week. The highest unadjusted insured unemployment rates for the week ending Feb. 7 were 7.5 percent in Michigan, 7.3 percent in Oregon, 7 percent in Idaho, 6.4 percent in Wisconsin and 6.2 percent in Pennsylvania. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Feb. 14 occurred in New Jersey (with an additional 2,093), Virginia (with an additional 912), Rhode Island (with an additional 493) and Vermont (with an additional 106). The largest decreases in initial claims for the same week occurred in California (with 16,550 less), Kentucky (with 7,741 less), Pennsylvania (with 6,547 less), Illinois (with 6,248 less) and New York (with 3,955 less). Write to Diana Golobay at

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