WASHINGTON — Initial claims for state unemployment fell 24,000 to 351,000 in the March 1 week, roughly reversing the previous week’s gain, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Analysts had expected claims to fall to a level of 360,000 in the March 1 week.

Seasonal factors had expected initial unadjusted claims to rise by 10.9% or 36,000, but unadjusted claims actually rose only 3.9% or 12,785 to a level of 342,855 in the March 1 week. A year ago there were 320,194 unadjusted claims. The level of continuing claims rose 29,000 to 2.831 million in the Feb. 23 holiday week, the highest level since the Sept. 24, 2005, week, when continuing claims hit 2.843 million.

— Market News International

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