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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Unexpectedly But Remain Below 400,000


New claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. ticked up unexpectedly last week, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

Labor Department figures put the level of initial jobless claims at a seasonally adjusted 362,000 for the week ended March 3rd, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 354,000.

Additionally, the previous week's claims levels were upwardly revised from the 351,000 initially reported.

While most economists had predicted that new claims would hold level at the 351,000 initially reported for the previous week, the latest figure still remains comfortably below the 400,000 level that most economists believe is the threshold for lowering the overall unemployment rate.

Jobless claims have remained below the key 400,000 level for all but two of the last 18 weekly reports.

Labor Department officials said that the actual 9.4 percent increase in the raw numbers of new claims exceeded the 6.9 percent increase predicted by seasonal factors, resulting in the increase in the seasonally adjusted figures.

Additional data on job creation levels and the unemployment rate for the month of February is due to be released on Friday.

The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims, a figure that reduces some of the week-to-week fluctuations in the data, ticked up slightly, rising to 355,000 from the previous week's revised average of 354,750.

The number of people on the unemployment insurance rolls, a figure known as continuing claims, also increased for the week ended February 25th, rising to 3.416 million from the previous week's revised level of 3.406 million.

Most economists had expected that figure to come in somewhat lower, at 3.405 million.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims decreased 27,500 to 3,417,500 from the previous week's revised average of 3,445,000.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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