U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly rise
The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 744,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level of 728,000.
Jobless claims rose for the second straight week after falling to a one-year low of 658,000 in the week ended March 20th.
The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 680,000 from the 719,000 originally reported for the previous month.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also inched up to 723,750, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average of 721,250.
Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, dipped by 16,000 to 3.734 million in the week ended March 27th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 3,862,000, a decrease of 105,750 from the previous week's revised average of 3,967,750. ■