The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased again last week.
The figure inched up to 427,000 from a revised figure of 426,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the data, was down slightly to 424,000.
In order for the unemployment rate, currently at 9.1 percent, to start significantly declining, most economists think the number of new weekly jobless claims needs to be down around 200,000.
The new numbers come on the heels of Friday's deeply disappointing monthly jobs report, which found that the economy added just 54,000 jobs in May.
(Faye McWilliams Pearson, a volunteer at Miami's Pass-It-On Ministries, left, works with Douglas Willock, center and Stephen Smith, both unemployed, giving them information about job fairs and a box of food that will last a week: J Pat Carter/AP)