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Jobless Claims Rose to Two-Month High Last Week

The number of U.S. workers filing initial claims for jobless aid rose 10,000 last week to the highest level in nearly two months, government data showed on Thursday.

First-time applications for state unemployment insurance benefits rose for the third straight week, climbing to 324,000 in the week ended June 16 from a revised 314,000 the prior week the Labor Department said.

New claims rose to their highest level since measuring 325,000 in the week ended April 21.

Rudy Narvas, senior analyst at 4Cast Ltd in New York, said the data "should point to some downside risk to the payrolls number for June, suggesting that it is going to be slightly softer than May."

U.S. government bond prices rose slightly as the higher-than-expected weekly initial claims and upward revision to the previous week's data raised concerns about the health of the labor market.

The dollar edged down against the euro as it tracked the decline in bond yields, while stock futures were little changed.

Wall Street analysts had forecast a slight rise in claims to 312,000 from an initial reading of 311,000 in the week ended June 9.

The closely watched four-week moving average of initial jobless claims, which flattens weekly fluctuations and gives a better sense of what is happening to underlying employment, rose for the fourth consecutive week, rising to 314,500 from 312,000 the prior week.

The number of people continuing to draw benefits after an initial week of aid rose 39,000 to 2.52 million in the week ended June 9, the latest period for which figures were available, slightly more than the 2.50 million forecast by analysts.

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