May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Fewer Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the biggest rounds of firings may be over.
Initial jobless claims fell by 13,000 to 623,000 in the week ended May 23, lower than forecast, from a revised 636,000 the prior week, according to Labor Department figures released today in Washington. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance rose to a record in the prior week for the 17th straight time, reflecting restrained hiring.
Fewer job losses reduce the risk that consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, will falter, delaying the economic recovery projected for later this year. Still, companies will be reluctant to add workers and increase production until sales show sustained gains.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month projected the jobless rate, currently at a 25-year high of 8.9 percent, will climb to 9.6 percent by the end of 2009. This month’s jobs report is due June 5.
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