WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment increased 8,000 in the March 21 week to 652,000, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to be 650,000 this week, with forecasts ranging from 640,000 to 670,000.

The four-week moving average for initial claims in the March 21 week fell 1,000 to 649,000. In the March 14 week, continuing claims set another record high, rising by 122,000 to 5.56 million.

— Market News International

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