Number filing claims for unemployment rises again

New claims for unemployment-insurance benefits went up to 544,000 during the week ended Dec. 18, an increase of 11,000 after adjustment for unemployment patterns typical of this time of year, the government said Thursday.

The Labor Department's report showed the first increase in the seasonally adjusted total in five weeks. The increase brought the figure closer to the adjusted 598,000 level for the week ended Nov. 13 that helped produce November's 10.8 percent national jobless rate, the highest since the end of the Great Depression.

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