WASHINGTON – Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims rose to 377,000 for the week ending Jan.21, an increase of 21,000 over the previous week's revised level of 356,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims rose to 3.554 million for the week ending Jan. 14, a gain of 88,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.466 million and the highest level since Dec. 31 when the level was 3.647 million.

The 352,000 of initial claims were lower than the median 370,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters and the 3.554 million of continuing claims were above the median 3.500 million they estimated.

The four-week moving average for initial claims was 377,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average of 380,000.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims was 3.569 million, which was down 15,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.585 million and the lowest since Sept. 27, 2008, when it was 3.534 million.

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