First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 38,000 last week to 368,000, from 330,000 the previous week.
Claims have been volatile all month, falling by a whopping 40,000 one week and then two weeks later, rising again dramatically.
Economists often prefer to smooth out the volatility by looking at a four week moving average, which was 352,000 last week, a slight increase from the week before.
Meanwhile, continuing claims, a closely watched measure of those who remain on unemployment benefits for a second week or more, totaled about 3.2 million in the week ended Jan. 19, the most recent data available, a 22,000 drop from the week before.
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