Claims Gain Suggests Greater Labor Volatility

The U.S. labor market looks to be getting a little less settled.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 309,000 last week, some 5,000 higher than the previous week's revised average of 304,000 claims, the U.S. Labor Department reported on March 16.

The department's four-week moving average of first-time claims, which smooths out week-to-week swings in the numbers, also rose last week. The average was 296,5000, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 293,750 claims.

Initial claims are now running about 20,000 per week higher than they were about six weeks ago.

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