As the U.S. economy shows signs of recovery despite still high unemployment, the number of people seeking state help by filing initial unemployment insurance claims jumped last week but not enough to cause an increase in the 4-week moving average.

U.S. initial jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 531,000 for the week ending October 17, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average was 532,250 a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised average.

The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending October 10 was 5.923 million, down 98,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the report. The four week moving average was 6.031 million, down 59,250 from the previous week.

Meanwhile, with the unemployment rate inching up slightly to 9.8 percent, according to a government report at the beginning of the month, President Obama has previously said that he won’t consider the recovery real until employers begin hiring more workers than firing them.

The closely watched monthly non-farm payroll report released Oct 2 showed employers cut 263,000 jobs in September.

Employers have been reduced the number of job cuts significantly since the beginning of the year, when average monthly losses from November 2008 to March of this year were 645,000.

The Big Picture

The number of insured unemployed began to grow significantly in November of 2007, a time when the figure stood at 2.292 million. Just 6 months later the figure had vaulted to 3.089 million but remained relatively steady until the next holiday shopping season at 3.461 million in 2008.

Nearly a year later, however, with November only a month away, the latest figure indicates 5.923 million receiving benefits.

Since December of 2007, the number of unemployed persons in the U.S. has jumped by 7.6 million to 15.1 million of the 132 million worker job force, with the unemployment rate nearly doubling to 9.8 percent.