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Unemployment claims continue to rise


The number of people filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week and continuing claims reached a 10th straight record high, the Associated Press reported.

Iowa was among the states with the largest increases in new unemployment claims for the week ending March 21, along with California, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

According to the Labor Department, people filing new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 from the previous week’s revised 657,000. The number of workers claiming benefits for more than one week rose 161,000 to 5.73 million. Continuing claims data lag the initial claims figures by one week.

Meanwhile, an additional 1.5 million people are receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program approved by Congress last year.

The report comes a day before the Labor Department is scheduled to release another monthly employment report. Economists forecast that the report will show that the unemployment rate increased to 8.5 percent in March.

More companies announced job cuts this week. 3M Co., maker of Scotch tape and Post-it notes, said it will reduce its work force by 1,200 jobs, or 1.5 percent. Cardinal Health Inc. will lay off 1,300 employees, or about 3 percent of its work force, and KLA-Tencor Corp. said it will cut about 600 jobs, or 10 percent of its work force.

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