Government figures released Thursday showed that layoffs eased last week, though they remain at concerning levels. Meanwhile, the size of the government's unemployment roll climbed to a new record high.

The U.S. Labor Department announced initial jobless claims fell to 654,000 for the week ended April 4th, compared to the previous week's revised level of 674,000. Analysts had expected the figure to come in at a level of 664,000.

Continuing claims rose by 95,000, bringing the total number to another record high of 5.84 million.

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