New applications for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly by 51,000 to 454,000 in the week ending January 22nd. According to the Labor Department, snowstorms delayed the processing of some claims and this partly accounts for the increase, but it is clear that employment remains a concern.
The Federal Reserve pointed to this fact yesterday saying the stubbornly-high unemployment rate means it is necessary to move ahead with the planned $600 billion stimulus plan.
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