WASHINGTON — Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped 12,000 in the March 28 week to 669,000, while continuing claims rose to another record high for the ninth week in a row, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to rise by 3,000 to 655,000 this week from the originally reported 652,000 from the March 21 week, with forecasts ranging from 630,000 to 672,000.

The level of claims from the March 21 week was revised up 5,000 to 657,000.

The four-week moving average in the March 28 week rose 6,500 to 656,750.

While seasonal adjustment factors had prompted expectations of a 1% decline or about 6,000 in unadjusted claims, the actual figure was an increase of 0.7% or 4,397 to a level of 594,464, a Labor analyst said.

In the March 21 week, continuing claims set another record high for the ninth consecutive week — and seem to be heading towards the six million mark — rising by 161,000 to 5.728 million. Continuing claims were 2.926 million in the comparable week a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate rose from 4.2% the prior week to 4.3% in the March 21 week, the highest seen since May 21, 1983, when it was also 4.3%. It was 2.2% in the comparable week a year ago.

— Market News International

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