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[WASHINGTON] The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 for the week ended Feb 28, the Labour Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 295,000 last week.
In a second report, the department said productivity fell at a 2.2 per cent annual rate in the fourth quarter, instead of the 1.8 per cent pace it had reported last month.