WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment increased 22,000 to 378,000 in the March 15 week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Analysts expected initial jobless claims to edge up 2,000 to 355,000 in the March 15 employment survey week. The March 8 week’s initial claims level was revised slightly upward to 356,000 from 353,000.

A Labor Department analyst said there is an ongoing impact from the American Axle strike affecting the March 15 week’s initial claims data, which as a result, has shut down production plants at General Motors.

The four-week moving average in the March 15 week was 365,250, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s level of 359,250.

The level of continuing claims increased 32,000 to 2.865 million in the March 8 week.

— Market News International

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