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New jobless claims rise, sparking concerns about labor market

New claims for unemployment benefits rose again in the latest week, raising worries that labor market growth was stalling.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that seasonally-adjusted claims increased by 10,000 to 383,300. It was the fourth week in a row that claims have risen.

The four-week moving average, considered a more accurate gauge of labor market conditions, increased by 3,750 to 374,500. The prior week's figure was revised up to 373,000 from the previously reported 370,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims unchanged last week.

Claims have now risen in seven of the last eight weeks. Most of those increases were marginal and the overall level of claims has held at levels consistent with a modest recovery in the labor market.

But the steady increase could add to the concerns raised by April's disappointing 115,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls. A Labor Department report due on Friday is expected to show employers added 150,000 jobs in May.

The four-week moving average for new claims, a measure of labor market trends, increased 3,750 to 374,500.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the data but that results for five states, including California, had been estimated. 

Reuters contributed to this report.