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New jobless claims rise

Washington (AP) — New jobless claims increased last week by the most since February, reversing the previous week’s sharp decline. The rise is partly a result of seasonal factors but also reflects a weak job market.

New claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The sharp increase comes after claims fell steeply two weeks ago to their lowest level since August 2008. But much of that drop was driven by temporary seasonal factors and not an improving job market.

Two weeks ago, General Motors and other manufacturers reported fewer temporary layoffs than usual this time of year, a Labor Department analyst said. Last week’s rise partly reflects the fading of that trend.

Before seasonal adjustments, claims fell by 13,113 to 498,022, the department reported. The government seasonally adjusts most economic data to filter out the effect of recurring, noneconomic factors.

Still, new claims remain elevated. It’s a sign that jobs are scarce even as the economy slowly recovers from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the report suggests that businesses will add a net total of less than 100,000 new employees in July. That’s not enough to quickly reduce the unemployment rate, he said.

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