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Rise in Unemployment in 2013

There has been a slight rise in claims for unemployment benefits just two weeks into the New Year. Economists say this is an indicator of the current state of the job market. During the first week of the year, approximately 371,000 people filed first-time unemployment claims, 4,000 more than the last week in December. Although the job market recovery has a long way to go, it has improved since the height of the recession when weekly unemployment claims surged above 600,000. There were roughly 12.2 million Americans jobless during December, meaning the unemployment rate for the month was 7.8%.

Unemployment claims seemed to have leveled off during 2012, ranging from 350,000 to 400,000 throughout most of the year. The U.S. economy has added an average of 150,000 jobs to the market each month throughout 2012; a rate that barely keeps up with the population growth each month. Economists say that if the market could reduce filings to 320,000 and 350,000 claims per week in 2013, this would greatly improve the economy. If claims were in this range, approximately 250,000 jobs would be added to the economy each month.

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