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Initial jobless claims rise again

New claims for unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week to 568 ,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday, indicating the nation's 10.8 percent jobless rate may still be on the rise.

The department's Employment and Training Administration said data for the week ended Jan. 8, seasonally adjusted, showed that 18,000 more workers filed for unemployment benefits than in the previous week.

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In a two-week period, the number of weekly claims jumped 53,000 from the week ended Dec. 25, the lowest point in six months.

Initial claims are often regarded by economists as a barometer of the overall job market and could mean that the 10.8 seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate will increase when the January total is released early next month.

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