Weekly jobless claims rise unexpectedly

The Senate failed Wednesday night to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, and more than 2 million Americans are expected to stop receiving weekly checks by July 10.

The House is expected to pass a bill Thursday, but the Senate has adjourned for the July 4 recess and won't take up another measure until mid-month.

About 4.92 million unemployed Americans received extended federal benefits in the week ended June 12, down from 5.3 million. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Workers can receive up to 99 weeks of extended benefits in some states. State unemployment compensation runs 26 weeks and federal programs through the 2009 stimulus have been providing the additional weeks of help, especially in states hit by high levels of unemployment.

In the week ended June 19, the number of workers continuing to receive benefits rose 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 4.62 million.

Economists argue that jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector.