updated 10/26/2006 9:29:55 AM ET 2006-10-26T13:29:55

The number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose by 8,000 last week.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims totaled 308,000 last week, up from a revised figure of 300,000 the previous week. The gain was in line with analysts’ expectations.

The four-week moving average for claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell by 2,750 to 305,250, the lowest level in eight months. Analysts believe that while a slowing economy has dampened hiring plans, companies are still reluctant to lay off workers.

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