Unemployment benefit applications rise to 309K

| Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose by 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 309,000. But the data was distorted for the second straight week by reporting delays.

The Labor Department said the less-volatile four-week average fell 7,000 to 314,750, the lowest in nearly six years.

Applications plummeted two weeks ago when California and Nevada were unable to report all their data because of computer upgrades in both states. A government spokesman says those states reported all the applications that came in last week. But backlogged data from two weeks ago may elevate the figures in the coming weeks, he said.

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