US Jobless Claims Jump 16,000 To 357,000

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped by 16,000 last week, the second straight weekly increase. But the longer-term trend in layoffs remained consistent with an improved job market.

The Labor Department says applications increased to a seasonally adjusted 357,000 for the week ending March 23. That's up from 341,000 the previous week, which was revised slightly higher. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 2,250 to 343,000. That's only slightly higher than the previous week's five-year low of 340,750.

Economists pay closer attention to the four-week average.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have been declining steadily since November, coinciding with solid job growth.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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