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Jobless Benefit Claims Rise above 400,000

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped 34,000 last week, government data on Thursday showed, reflecting seasonal volatility typical at this time of year.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 406,000 in the week ended July 19, from a revised 372,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the highest reading since late March.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual going on with the claims data and noted that estimates were being impacted by annual auto plant shutdowns, the end of the quarter, and the shorter July 4 holiday reporting week.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 376,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 366,000 the week before.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, a better gauge of underlying labor trends because it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose to 382,500 from 378,000 the week before.

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