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More Americans stood in line for jobless benefits in early April, reaching a level not seen since late January.
Jobless claims edged up again last week after experiencing a minor drop a week earlier, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
Initial jobless claims hit 380,000 for the week ending April 7, which is 13,000 filings above the revised 367,000-figure reported a week earlier. It's also well above early forecasts, which projected a more modest 359,000 claims on average, according to research firm Econoday.
"Disappointing payroll growth in last week's employment report for March is a reminder that fewer layoffs do not necessarily mean new hiring," Econoday said. "And not that the downward trend in layoffs has flattened the last couple of weeks, the outlook for improvement for the April jobs report is not favorable. This report will likely be a negative factor for today's stock market."
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for jobless claims hit 368,500, up from 364,250 the previous week.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate hit 2.6% for the week ending March 31, unchanged from a week earlier.
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