US jobless claims rise by 4,000 to 353,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the first time in five weeks even though the economy and job market have been recovering briskly from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims edged up to 353,000 from 349,000 a week earlier.

The weekly count has fallen more or less steadily since topping 900,000 in early January as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has helped the economy — encouraging businesses to reopen or expand hours and luring consumers out of their homes to restaurants, bars and shops.

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