The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance has increased to its highest level since November.
The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday there were 500,000 first-time applications for the week ending August 14 — 12,000 more than the week before.
The Labor Department’s report also said the number of Americans getting extended or emergency unemployment benefits rose to almost 5.6 million at the end of July.
U.S. lawmakers recently approved extending emergency benefits to unemployed workers who have been unemployed for so long that they are no longer eligible to collect traditional unemployment insurance.
Meanwhile, a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday called the U.S. economic recovery “anemic” compared to previous recoveries and said the government’s budget deficit would hit $1.3 trillion this year.
The report said it will be the second largest shortfall in the last 65 years.
The report blamed the deficit on weak revenues and increased spending to stimulate economic growth, but it also said the 2010 deficit is $71 billion less than last year’s total and forecast the deficit would further shrink to just over $1 trillion in 2011.
It also said the U.S. unemployment rate would not fall back to the county’s long-term average of about 5 percent until 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently at 9.5 percent.
Other reports Thursday also raised concerns about U.S. economic growth.
A regional branch of the U.S. central bank for the mid-Atlantic region said its monthly manufacturing index fell to its lowest level in almost a year, indicating the U.S. economic recovery is slowing.
Also, a private research group forecast slow economic growth through the end of the year.
The New York-based Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose one-tenth of a percent in July. Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the report showed the economy is weak but that the country does not appear to be headed for another downturn.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday the U.S. economy is coming around “slowly but surely” and is now growing, but acknowledged that progress has not been fast enough.
Mr. Obama said it will take time to recover the eight million jobs lost during the recession.