WASHINGTON — Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 7,000 to 455,000 in the Aug. 2 week on the continued impact of an emergency unemployment compensation program recently voted on by Congress, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

While thedepartment is still unable to quantify the actual impact of this program on the claims data, an analyst noted that some states are reporting filing by individuals that would not be able to file under the usual unemployment insurance rules.

The week’s increase was well above the median forecast expectation of 420,000 in a Market News International survey and was the highest since the March 30, 2002, week, when claims hit 479,000.

This week the seasonal adjustment factor had expected no change in unadjusted claims, but they actually rose 1.7% or 6,379, the Labor analyst said.

The four-week moving average jumped 26,750 to 419,500 in the Aug. 2 week, the highest level since the July 12, 2003 week.

Continuing claims for the July 26 week were up 31,000 to 3.311 million. Continuing claims have stayed above the 3 million mark since the April 19 week. This was the highest level since the week of Dec. 6, 2003, when continuing claims hit 3.318 million.

— Market News International

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