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Jobless claims rise in latest week

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, government data showed Thursday.

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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 from 331,000 the week before, the Labor Department said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits slipping to 330,000 in the week ended February 8.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose to 336,750 from 333,250.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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