Initial unemployment claims rose 10,000 to 379,000 in the Dec. 14 week, the payroll survey period.

There were no special factors, but the Labor Department analyst said during the holidays it's better to look at trends: the 4-week average is 344,000. He said any one weekly number is unreliable in December due to the difficulties of seasonally adjusting the readings, and it will not be until well after the New Year's holiday that spot claims readings give more reliable information.

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