The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter.
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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 for the week ended Feb. 28, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 295,000 last week.
In a second report, the department said productivity fell at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, instead of the 1.8 percent pace it had reported last month.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)