Ruth Mantell
MarketWatch
April 8, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 460,000 in the week ended April 3, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a result of 442,000. The four-week average of initial claims — a better gauge of employment trends than the volatile weekly number – rose 2,250 to 450,250.

A Labor Department official said interpretation of the data now is clouded by the timing of the Easter holiday, which makes it difficult to properly adjust for seasonal factors.

Still, initial claims are down almost 30% from the same period of the prior year. While economists say recent data indicate that job destruction has moderated, claims would have to fall to about 400,000 to indicate a strong hiring trend.

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