Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment rose much higher than forecast in the December 7 week, jumping 68,000 to 368,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Expectations for this week's report was for a claims level of 335,000, which would have been a rise of 37,000 from the previously reported 298,000 level in the November 30 week. Initial claims that week were revised up 2,000 to 300,000.

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