Initial claims for unemployment in the construction, trade, service and manufacturing industries jumped in Illinois, second only to California, according to a recent report released by the U.S Department of Labor. Nationwide claims rose to the highest in a year.

The largest increases in claims for the week ended Nov. 18 were in California at 9,949, followed by Illinois at 9,309 and Pennsylvania at 8,925.

Paul Kasriel, senior vice president and chief economist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Co., said these layoffs are related to recessions in the housing and domestic automobile sectors.

Unemployment claims are “a significant economic statistic,” Kasriel said, and the weekly report shows that the economy is “not recovering from softer growth.”

Nationally, seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims increased by 34,000 to 357,000 in the week ended Nov. 25, the highest they have been since October 2005.

Kasriel said the fact the numbers were so high during Thanksgiving week is a cause for some concern.

Offices are closed on Thursday and people usually take a day off on Friday, he said. “Because of the holiday, they [government employees] aren’t able to process all the claims and there is usually a downward bias,” he explained.

“This week, seeing a sharp increase is all the more worrisome,” Kasriel said.

Medill News Service