Jun 23, 2011 8:42 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, adding to evidence that the labor market is weakening.
The Labor Department says applications rose by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000 last week. It was the second increase in three weeks and the biggest jump in a month.
Applications have been above 400,000 for 11 straight weeks. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of the next nine weeks. But then applications surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have shown only modest improvement since that time.
Companies pulled back on hiring in the spring in the face of higher gas and food prices, which cut into consumer spending on other items.
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