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U.S. unemployment claims jumped by 38,000 in the week ended March 29 to 407,000, the highest number since the week of Sept. 17, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Economists had forecast claims would only rise to 370,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The surge last week marks a 10.3% increase over the previous week's revised figure of 369,000. The four-week moving average was 374,500, an increase of 15,750 from the previous week's revised average of 358,750.
The increase comes as the economy slows. On March 28, the Economic Cycle Research Institute reported the United States was on track for a recession. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday also warned of a possible recession, according to media reports.