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US jobless benefits claims rise in March

US jobless benefits claims rise in March
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New government figures suggest the job market recovery there lost momentum in March.

The total number of people registering new claims for unemployment benefits last week increased by 28,000 to 385,000 – that was adjusted for seasonal factors like weather.

That was the third straight week of gains in claims, taking them to the highest level since last November.

However, last week’s claims figures were probably distorted by the Easter, Passover and spring breaks for schools, which this year were early. That could make it difficult to smooth out the data for seasonal fluctuations.

The stats were released one day after data showed private employers added the fewest jobs in five months in March; and there were out one day before the closely watched payrolls figures for the month.

Surveys of economists indicate employers likely added close to 200,000 jobs. February’s total was 236,000.

The unemployment rate was seen holding steady at a four-year low of 7.7 percent of the workforce.

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