Jobless claims up slightly, ahead of Obama’s big speech

September 8, 2011

Jobless claims rose slightly, indicating that while companies aren’t upping layoffs, they aren’t hiring either. (M. Spencer Green/AP)

Stock futures slipped on the news, which added to unease over the U.S. economy. The rise in claims bolsters evidence of a weak job market, particularly following the government’s report last week that the country had added no new jobs in the month of August.

The data comes in advance of President Barack Obama’s economic speech Thursday night. The Post’s Zachary Goldfarb reported Wednesday that administration officials say “Obama’s prescriptions will be in the same moldas they were in 2008 — infrastructure spending; housing aid, including an expanded refinance program and new measures to assist the unemployed.”

The effects of Hurricane Irene did not appear to affect the number of claims, though the government had to estimate figures for some states because the Labor Day holiday delayed reports.

The four-week moving average, generally considered to be a more accurate indicator of jobless claims, rose to 414,750 from 411,000, though that figure is likely higher due to the Verizon labor dispute.

Related stories:

Obama’s jobs speech will renew push for spending to boost economy

Obama, by pitching jobs plan before Congress, again turns to the Big Speech

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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