WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking first-time U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week, though the total was elevated for the third straight week by technical problems in California.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average jumped by nearly 11,000 to 348,250.
Weekly applications have been inflated for the last three weeks, largely because California has been processing a huge number of applications that were delayed because of a computer upgrade. The 16-day partial government shutdown has also lifted claims because a number of government contractors were laid off temporarily.
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