Washington, 25 Jumadil Awal 1434/6 April 2013 (MINA) – The US Department of Labor says the number of American citizens applying for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in four months.

The department said on Thursday (4/4) that applications for state unemployment benefits last week increased by 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000 claims– the highest since November 24, 2012. The four-week average for new claims also rose by 11, 250, the department added, according to Press TV monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

The media reported nearly six million Americans are currently receiving jobless benefits. However, the actual figure would have been much higher if state authorities had not stopped extending benefit programs.

In February, the US Federal Reserve also stated in a separate assessment that economic activity in the nation had “paused” in recent months.

The US economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, casting doubt on the strength of economic recovery in the country.

The estimated 50 million Americans already living in poverty will be hit hardest by the $85 billion in spending cuts set to begin after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement over the most effective way to address the national debt, according to Fars Agency report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Thursday (4/4).

New statistics from the US Census Bureau reveal that one in every six Americans is living below the poverty line, Fars source reported.

Additionally, one in five American children is now living in the same unfortunate situation.

The news that 16 per cent of the American public was living in poverty last rang true in the mid-1960s, when then-president Lyndon Johnson tried to launch a war on poverty. But his efforts – which fell under the Great Society program – were first suspended then permanently abandoned in order to pay for the US invasion of Vietnam.

William McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities, told the Associated Press that the national budget cuts “will deepen and increase poverty” for low-income areas, children, poor senior citizens and many other demographics. (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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