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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government says the number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose last week, though the report was distorted by the timing of auto plant shutdowns.
The Labor Department says its tally of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 554,000. That's above analysts' estimates of 550,000.
But the total jobless benefit rolls fell by 88,000 to 6.2 million, the lowest level since mid-April.
A department analyst says the government's seasonal adjustment process expected a sharp drop in claims last week, which didn't happen. As a result, seasonally-adjusted claims rose.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)