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) -- Initial jobless claims climbed higher last week as further signs of labor market headwinds continue to bubble up just ahead Friday's highly anticipated jobs report.

The number of first-time filers for state unemployment benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 for the week ending June 26, marking a jump of 13,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Wall Street was looking for new claims to tick just higher to 458,000 from the prior week's pre-revised 457,000 tally. Initial claims have remained largely stifled for several weeks, which economists say suggests the goal of sustained jobs growth remains elusive.

The moving average for new claims over the past four weeks, known for ironing out chaotic trends from one week to the next, also edged higher by 3,250 to 466,500. The number of people continuing on jobless benefit rolls also increased to 4.615 million from 4.573 million.

The week is a big one for labor market data, with many economists seeing signs of a slowdown on several fronts. On Friday, the Labor Department will unveil its latest nonfarm payroll figures for June. Consensus forecasts provided by

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are calling for figures to show employers shed 100,000 jobs from their payrolls last month, and the nation's unemployment rate to edge up to 9.8% from 9.7%. Though May saw a jump of 431,000 jobs, the vast majority came from the hiring of temporary Census workers, which disappointed market observers.

Earlier Thursday, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said employers announced 39,358 job cuts last month, which was a 1.4% increase from May. And on Wednesday,

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offered an anemic assessment of the private sector labor force, saying private employers added a mere 13,000 to their payrolls in June.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York