WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment jumped 38,000 to 407,000 in the March 29 week, well above expectations and the highest level since the Sept. 17, 2005, week in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Analysts expected initial jobless claims to rise 4,000 to 370,000 in the March 29 week. The previous week’s initial claims level was revised up to 369,000 from the original 366,000.

A Labor Department analyst said the timing of Easter and sharp underlying movements in the claims data have made week-to-week seasonal adjustment difficult. Seasonal factors had been expected to cause initial unadjusted claims to fall by 1.3%, but they actually rose 8.9%, or 28,181. A 19.2% rise in unadjusted claims was expected in the April 5 week due to seasonal factors, so a reversal is possible for adjusted claims next week.

The level of adjusted continuing claims in the March 22 week rose 97,000 to 2.937 million, the highest since the July 17, 2004, week, when they were 2.944 million.

— Market News International

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