Initial claims for state unemployment increased 3,000 in the Jan. 24 week to 588,000, close to the 26-year high reported in late December, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to be 590,000 this week.

Continuing claims soared upward by 159,000 in the Jan. 17 employment survey week to a record high of 4.776 million. The Labor Department said it was the highest figure since this data series began in 1967.

— Market News International

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