The number of Americans lining up for state unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in more than nine years, the government said on Thursday in a report showing a labor market hit hard after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 

The number of initial jobless claims rose by 58,000 to 450,000 for the week ended Sept. 22. That was well above Wall Street expectations, and the Labor Department said preliminary data showed an 11,000 rise in claims from New York, the state hit hardest after two hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, collapsing buildings and shutting down stock markets for days. 

Several days of grounded airline flights followed by substantial cutbacks in flights also contributed to increased jobless claims among auto workers in Michigan as that industry was unable to have needed parts delivered from Canada, the department said.