Initial claims for state unemployment rose 9,000 in the week of March 7 to 654,000 after adjustment, well above even the top of the range of expectations — but without seasonal adjustment, claims stayed “flat,” the Labor Department reported yesterday.

A Market News International survey had expected the initial claims level to be up just 1,000 to 640,000 — revised to 645,000 — with forecasts ranging from 630,000 to 650,000.

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