WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims rose last week, but remained at a level consistent with moderate labor market growth amid mixed signals recently about the strength of the economic recovery.

About 339,000 people applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended Saturday, up from 331,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had projected a slight decrease to 330,000.

The weekly claims figure, a key labor market indicator, has settled in recent weeks to about 335,000 after the usual holiday season volatility. The four-week average rose 3,500 last week, to 336,750.

Economists say claims below 350,000 indicate moderate job creation.


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