Weekly Jobless Claims Climb by 34,000

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The number of U.S. workers applying for jobless benefits rose a higher-than-expected 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, according to a government report on Thursday.

The latest figures from the Labor Department cover the week ending Nov. 25. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted claims would edge down to 314,000.

Claims in the prior week were revised slightly to 323,000 from the prior estimate of 321,000.

The Thanksgiving holiday contributed to the relatively big rise in seasonally adjusted claims because actual claims fell less than anticipated by statistical factors, a Labor Department official said.

The four-week moving average, considered a more reliable measure of underlying employment trends because it irons out such weekly fluctuations, edged up to 325,000 from 317,750.

The number of people drawing continuing jobless benefits gained 45,000 to 2.48 million in the week ended Nov. 18, higher than the 2.45 million continuing claims analysts were expecting.