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BRIEFLY / THE ECONOMY

Jobless Claims Up; Consumer Optimism Rises

November 23, 2000|Associated Press and Bloomberg News

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 for the week ended Saturday, the Labor Department said. That was the highest level since the beginning of the month. Even with the increase, the nation's labor market remains tight, meaning businesses are struggling to find qualified workers to fill openings. The more stable four-week moving average of jobless claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose to 330,500, the highest since Jan. 16, 1999, when claims were at 342,000. Separately, an index of consumer optimism rose to a revised 107.6 in November from October's 105.8 reading, according to the University of Michigan. The November sentiment index is close to the record of 112 reached in January. The index has a base of 100 set in 1966. Increases or decreases from that level indicate how comfortable consumers are with their finances and the state of the economy.

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