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Weekly U.S. jobless claims rise 5,000 to 417,000

Weekly U.S. jobless claims rise 5,000 to 417,000 (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - New applications for U.S. unemployment compensation rose by 5,000 last week to 417,000, boosted in part by thousands of claims by striking phone workers, the Labor Department said Thursday. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 412,000 from an original reading of 408,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected new requests for jobless benefits to total 410,000 in the week of Aug 20. At least 8,500 workers at Verizon Communications filed claims last week and at least 12,500 filed claims the week before, the government said. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, increased by 4,000 to 407,500. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it smoothes out volatility in the week-to-week data. Continuing claims, which reflect people already receiving unemployment checks, fell by 80,000 to 3.64 million in the week ended Aug. 13. A total of 7.29 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week of Aug. 6, down 45,989 from the prior week