The Wall Street Journal
January 21, 2010

[efoods]The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week — an increase a U.S. Labor Department economist said is partly due to an administrative backlog in processing claims.

Total claims lasting more than one week, meanwhile, declined.

Separately, an index of leading economic indicators increased strongly in December, as the economy gained strength at the end of 2009.

Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 36,000 to 482,000 in the week ended Jan. 16, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report Thursday. The previous week’s level was revised upward to 446,000 from 444,000.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a decrease of 4,000 initial claims.

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