After three straight weekly declines, the level of new claims for unemployment benefits jumped from a seasonally adjusted 598,000 to 654,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
The figures indicate total unemployment is still rising, according to analysts, who expect the unemployment rate for November, to be announced this morning, to be up from October's 10.4 percent rate.
Separately, the Commerce Department said that new orders for manufactured goods declined in October by $6 billion or 3.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted level of $150.1 billion. It was the lowest monthly figure since June 1980.
On a somewhat brighter note, Commerce also reported that sales of new single-family houses in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 487,000, virtually the same as the 489,000 rate in September, which was up 28 percent from August.
The Labor Department said the number of persons claiming benefits under regular state unemployment insurance programs rose nearly 200,000 to a record 4,841,000 in the week ended Nov. 13. That was the highest since the unemployment compensation program was enacted in 1935 and was 156,000 higher than the previous record set in mid-October.
The latest increase also boosted the so-called insured unemployment rate from 5.3 percent to 5.5 percent, the highest level during the current recession.
The Commerce report on manufacturing said that shipments of goods dropped 4.1 percent in October, the largest monthly decline since April 1979, to a level of $152.8 billion.
But with shipments still running above new orders, the unfilled order backlog was reduced by $2.9 billion or 0.6 percent. It was the 15th consecutive monthly drop in the order backlog, which now stands at $293.2 billion, the department said. With shipments declining, manufacturers were not able to trim their inventories as much as they had hoped.
The book value of the inventories fell only $200 million, or 0.1 percent, to $272.3 billion. Because of the much larger decline in shipments, the ratio of inventory to shipments increased from 1.71 in September to 1.78 in October.
Taken together, the new figures suggest additional declines are ahead for industrial production.
Robert G. Dederick, undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, said that despite the nearly unchanged rate of sales, "the outlook for the home ownership market continues to be brightened by declining mortgage interest rates. "While the monthly pattern continues to be irregular, sales have been in an uptrend since spring," he said.