WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government says new claims for jobless benefits increased by more than expected last week as companies cut jobs due to the slow economy.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment benefits rose 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 478,000, slightly above analysts' estimates of 470,000.
The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped slightly to 480,250, down from a seven-year high in the previous week.
Jobless claims above 400,000 are considered a sign of recession.
A year ago, claims stood at 333,000, the department said.
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