The number of newly laid-off workers requesting unemployment benefits rose last week as jobs remain scarce amid a sluggish economic recovery.
The Labor Department says new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000. Wall Street economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected an increase of only 3,000.
A Labor Department analyst says the rise was partly a result of large seasonal layoffs in the retail, manufacturing and construction industries. The second week of January usually sees the largest increase in claims, unadjusted for seasonal trends, during the year.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits dropped sharply to 4.6 million from 4.8 million the previous week.
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