Chicago Tribune
January 9, 2009

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits surged to a 26-year high as the labor market worsened.

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 24,000, to 467,000, in the week that ended Jan. 3, the lowest level in almost three months, the Labor Department said in Washington. But the number of people receiving benefits rose a week earlier to 4.6 million, the most since 1982.

Separately, the Federal Reserve reported consumer borrowing dropped by $7.9 billion in November, to $2.57 trillion, the biggest decline since records began in 1943.

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