WASHINGTON (AP) _ The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the second-highest level in nearly a decade. Wages and benefits increased by 1 percent during the July-September quarter, the government said Thursday.
The Labor Department reported that newly laid-off Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 8,000 last week to 504,000, a level generally associated with recessions, as the shocks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks continued to take a toll on the U.S. economy.
The department also reported that workers' wages and benefits climbed by 1 percent for the three months ending in September, little changed from a 0.9 percent rise for the three months ending in June.
During the last 12 months, Americans' wages and benefits rose by 4.1 percent, down from a 4.3 percent rise in the 12-month period ending in September 2000. Analysts said this showed that the sluggish economy is producing into less generous compensation packages.