U.S. jobless claims climb 35,000 to 445,000: WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of U.S. workers who filed new applications for jobless benefits jumped 35,000 last week to 445,000, the highest level in more than two months, but a government official attributed the sharp increase largely to administrative backlogs. Some people don't file claims right away during the holiday season and state unemployment offices are open fewer hours, leading to paperwork delays. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims in the week ended Jan. 8 to fall to a seasonally adjusted 405,000. The four-week average of new claims rose a much smaller 5,500 to 416,500. The moving average is considered a more accurate measure of employment trends because it evens out fluctuations in the weekly data that can give a distorted picture of the labor market. Continuing claims, meanwhile, fell by 248,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.88 million. Altogether, 9.19 million people received some kind of state or federal benefits in the week of Dec. 25, on an unadjusted basis. That was up 422,523 from the prior week.