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First-time jobless claims rise by 10,000

A banner reading 'Jobs' hangs on thre facade of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let's get to jobs. The government said this morning the number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits jumped by 10,000 last week to 424,000.

Diane Swonk is chief economist with Mesirow Financial. She's with us live from Chicago, as she is every Thursday. Good morning.

DIANE SWONK: Good morning.

HOBSON: Well, what's going on in the job market Diane?

SWONK: Well, what we're seeing is layoffs have picked up again mostly because of interruptions because of the Japanese earthquake and all there's still some hesitancy to hire out there with all the uncertainties we're seeing in the global economy today.

HOBSON: And Diane, there's a hearing going on today in Washington I saw. It's about the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. We know mergers are not good in the short term for job growth, so where can we look for jobs?

SWONK: Well, going forward I think it's going to be a rocky summer for job growth. We are going to see manufacturing come back once the interruptions in production from Japan have passed. That's been a strong sector for, ironically, for job growth. But this has really been a very difficult time. Most of the employment gains we've seen is the net employment. Hiring has not really picked up but firing had abated. That's been our only hope is that, you know, we've not had as much layoffs and now those layoffs are back up again.

HOBSON: Diane Swonk, chief economist with Mesirow Financial, thanks so much as always.

SWONK: Thank you.

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