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Initial Jobless Claims Rise, Bucking Latest Trends

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Recent jobs data has demonstrated the labor market's resilient return to strength, but the latest initial jobless claims numbers released Thursday paint a different story.

Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims increased 68,000 to 368,000 for the week ended Dec. 7, 22% higher than a revised figure released a week earlier. The four-week moving average jumped 6,000 to 328,750.

The increase in new claims for government unemployment benefits has negated recent declines and is higher than expected. According to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, new claims were forecast to rise a modest 20,000 to 320,000 over the week. US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance ChartUS Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance data by YCharts

New applications for unemployment benefits have been falling since the week ended Oct. 5, strengthening the view that a recovery of the labor market was in motion.

Total initial claims, unadjusted for seasonal factors, were 461,422, up 146,241 on the figure a week earlier. The number came in 7.5% higher than unadjusted data from the comparable week a year earlier.

"The latest reading probably does not tell us much about the prospects for the labor market and is out-of-character with the two latest employment reports, which contributed towards a boost in the quarterly pace of nonfarm jobs gains," noted Andrew Wilkinson, Miller Tabak's chief economic strategist, in a report on Thursday's release.

A week earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 203,000 jobs were created in November, up from a consensus estimate of 180,000. The jobless rate dropped to 7%, a five-year low and below expectations of 7.2%.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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