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IN BRIEF / THE ECONOMY

Labor Department Tries to Fix Glitch

November 19, 2003|From Reuters

The Labor Department, at the urging of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, is working to fix a statistical quirk that causes the government to routinely underestimate the number of newly unemployed Americans each week.

Each Thursday, the department issues its count of Americans filing initial claims for state unemployment benefits in the latest week. In 51 of the last 52 weeks, it also has revised the previous week's number upward, making the picture less rosy than it originally appeared.

The weekly jobless claims figures are closely watched by financial markets as the most timely measure of U.S. employment.

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