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New jobless claims up 17,000 last week, but remain relatively low

Statues depicting men standing in a unemployment line during the Great Depression at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington.
(Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- More people filed initial jobless claims last week, the first increase in five weeks, as the labor market appeared to have shaken off the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

There were 361,000 new claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Saturday, up from a revised 344,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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The level is consistent with moderate job growth and in line with figures in the weeks before Sandy struck.

The less-volatile four-week average was down 13,750 to 367,750.

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The difference between last week’s figure and the four-week average reflects the lingering effects of the spike in jobless claims caused by Sandy.

Sandy hit hard in New York, New Jersey and other Northeast states at the end of October, triggering layoffs. Initial claims jumped to 451,000 in mid-November, the highest level in more than a year and a half.

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Claims had been dropping through the week that ended Dec. 8 as the storm’s effects lessened.

New jobless claims were down 11,295 in New York and 11,247 in Pennsylvania for that week, the latest state-level figures available, according to the Labor Department.

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California had the biggest increase for that week, 5,952, because of layoffs in the service and manufacturing sectors.

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