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Jobless claims up in setback for recovery

Initial filings for unemployment insurance rise to highest level in more than a month.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly last week, to the highest level in more than a month, according to government data released Thursday.

There were 627,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 20, up 15,000 from a revised 612,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The number was above the consensus estimate of 600,000 from economists surveyed by Briefing.com.That's the highest level of initial claims since the week ended May 16, when 636,000 were filed.

Despite the increase, economist Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics said he still believes "the underlying trend in claims is downwards, but it is slow and uneven."

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 617,250, up 500 from the previous week's revised average of 616,750.

Continuing claims: The government said 6,738,000 people continued to file unemployment claims in the week ended June 13, the most recent data available.

That's up 29,000 from the preceding week's revised 6,709,000 ongoing claims.

The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 6,759,750, down 3,250 from the prior week's revised average of 6,763,000.

State-by-state data: In the week ended June 13, the most recent data available, 14 states reported that initial claims decreased by more than 1,000.

Michigan had 5,414 fewer initial claims, which a state-issued comment attributed to fewer layoffs in the automobile industry.

A total of 6 states reported new claims increased by more than 1,000. Florida reported the most new claims, at 8,383, which a state-supplied comment attributed to layoffs in the construction, trade, service and manufacturing industries.

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