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Minnesota unemployment claims jump amid federal budget uncertainty

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First-time unemployment claims jumped 47 percent in Minnesota.

The sharp increase comes during the first week of the federal government shutdown. Those numbers put Minnesota well ahead of the nation which saw a 21 percent increase from 308,000 to 374,000 applications.

The Star Tribune reports that about 2,000 of the 5,000 new applications in Minnesota came from employees linked to "federal government employment."

Those initial applications were the largest number since the week ending July 13 and one of the 10 worst weeks of the calendar year, in Minnesota. Likewise, the 374,000 first time filings were also the country's most filings since the end of March. Labor Department figures show the national weekly rates have been below that number for all but two weeks this year. Prior to the shutdown the numbers were from 294,000 to 311,000.

Discussions about the impasse in Washington are continuing.

A report in the New York Daily News says that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday. Lew said that a potential default could have a real impact on American households.

"The stock market, including investments in retirement accounts, could tumble, and it could become more expensive for Americans to buy homes, cars, and own small businesses," testified Lew.

Lew told lawmakers that the damage could not easily be undone and would impact Americans for generations to come.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner offered a plan to extend the government's debt limit for six weeks, but according to the New York Times, meetings between a group of Republicans led by Boehner and President Obama have not yet reached an agreement.

Though talks will continue throughout the night.

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