Initial claims for state unemployment surged to their largest gain in more than three years, rising 58,000 to a 26-year high of 573,000 in the Dec. 6 week, the Labor Department reported yesterday. Forecasts had centered on an increase to a level of 540,000 for the week, in a range of 523,000 to 545,000.

A Labor analyst said: “There are three things going on driving the seasonally adjusted number for this week.”

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