Fourth of July Unemployment: Worse Than Feared

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U.S. weekly jobless claims surged by 13,000 to a total of 472,000, despite the predictions of forecasters who expected the number to go down.

The increase was the second time within three weeks the number has risen and it comes as Congress mulls extending federal aid for the unemployed. (See TIME’s covers on jobs.)

Claims have hovered above 450,000 since the beginning of 2010, indicating that the job market is weak and economists say they will not feel better about it until the number drops below 425,000. “We find the level and direction in jobless claims somewhat troubling and the increase is likely to feed double-dip fears,” said John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics in a note to clients obtained by the Associated Press.

The overall nationwide unemployment rate is expected to slightly rise to 9.8% from 9.7% in May.