RTTNews - The U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims, a closely-watched measure of layoffs, jumped to 637,000 for the week ended May 9th. This was up 32,000 from the previous week's revised total of 605,000.

The 4-week moving average for initial claims, a statistic that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, rose to 630,500 compared to a revised reading of 624,500 in the previous week.

The number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, a figure known as continuing claims, rose more than 200,000 to reach another record high.

Continuing claims totaled 6.560 million for the week ended May 2nd, the most recent week for which the government has data. This was up 202,000 from the previous week - the 15th consecutive week in which continuing claims rose.

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