Reuters reports that new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week.
The report says the levels are still consistent with a steady improvement in labor market conditions.
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"... this probably does not suggest any material change in the pace of job growth given that claims been very volatile since January because of difficulties smoothing the data for seasonal fluctuations," the report reads.
The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January, according to the Bureay of Labor Statistics. A year ago, the unemployment rate was at 8.3, down from 9.1 percent in 2011 and 9.8 percent in 2010.