The U.S. Labor Department announced initial jobless claims rose to 652,000 for the week ended March 20th, compared to the previous week's level of 644,000.

The four-week average for the data showed a slight decline to 649,000 versus an average of 650,000 posted in the previous week.

Meanwhile, people continuing to collect unemployment rose to 5.560 million in the most recent data, compared to the previous mark of 5.438 million.

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