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The Number of Americans Looking for Unemployment Aid Hits Two-Month High

Applications for jobless benefits increased by 14,000 for the week ending April 26, bringing the total to 344,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 330,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

This is an official two-month high for this figure.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 3,000 to 320,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 317,000.

There were no unexpected factors that affected this week’s unemployment benefits number, the government said.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent for the week ending April 19, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate of 2.0 percent,” the report reads. “The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 19 was 2,771,000, an increase of 97,000 from the previous week's revised level.”

“The previous week's level was revised down by 6,000 from 2,680,000 to 2,674,000. The 4- week moving average was 2,734,000, a decrease of 16,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 29, 2007 when it was 2,730,250. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,500 from 2,752,250 to 2,750,750,” it added.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 19 were New Jersey (+4,652), Connecticut (+2,073), Maryland (+998), Nevada (+402) and Vermont (+202). Meanwhile, Texas (-3,118), California (- 2,887), Pennsylvania (-2,738), New York (-1,740), and Indiana (-1,577) posted the largest decreases in initial claims.

The economy grew at an annual pace of just 0.1 percent from January through March, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Wednesday.

“Economists blamed bad weather for the slowdown and expect growth to rebound to 3 percent in the second half of 2014,” the Associated Press reported:

Markets are poised to open slightly higher Thursday:

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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