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U.S. Claims For Jobless Benefits Increase

By Agence France-Presse New claimants for U.S. unemployment benefits grew by 16,000 people to 442,000 last week, seasonally adjusted government figures showed June 5. Wall Street analysts had expected a modest decline in claims for the week ended May 31. Labor Department officials said some of the increase was related to its efforts to smooth out a statistical blip caused by the May 26 Memorial Day holiday. A four-week average of initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 430,500. In raw, unadjusted figures, the number of new jobless benefit claims fell 12,598 to 347,237 in the week. There were 309,183 claims in the comparable week of 2002. The number of people already claiming benefits for two weeks or more fell 18,000 to 3.71 million in the previous week to May 24, the latest date for which those figures are available. Initial jobless claims had dropped 7,000 to 426,000 in the week to May 24, revised figures showed. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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