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Jobless claims increase

Posted on March 21st, 2014 Read time: 1 minutes

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits hovered around a three-month low in the week that ended on March 15. That was also seen during the previous week. Jobless claims totaled 320,000, up 5,000 from the previous week, according to the Labor Department.

Even though claims for unemployment grew from the previous week, the figures from the last two weeks are the best back-to-back readings since the end of November.

The figures for the past week are below the average of what experts had forecasted. According to a survey conducted by Bloomberg, the median prediction of total jobless claims was 322,000, with estimates ranging from 310,000 to 335,000. Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, told Bloomberg the numbers for the last two weeks are encouraging.

"Claims remain extremely encouraging," O'Sullivan said. "They're signaling that the net slowing in payroll gains in the last few months is weather related and temporary, and we're due for some catch-up."

Bloomberg reported a decrease in layoffs and those filing for unemployment benefits will make it easier for businesses to hire full-time, part-time and even temporary workers for their companies.

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