Feb. 15, 2007 --  The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 44,000 to 357,000 last week, the highest level since November, the labor Department reported Thursday.

In the week ending Feb. 3, the total insured unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent to 2 percent with about 2.56 million people nationwide filing unemployment claims, the report said.

The largest increases in new claims last week were in Virginia, Michigan, and Kentucky, while claims were down in Missouri, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, the report said.

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