By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, posting the biggest gain in more than a year, but the underlying trend continued to point to a strengthening labor market. Another report on Thursday showed a 35 percent surge in planned layoffs by U.S.-based employers last month. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 274,000 for the week ended April30, the Labor Department said.
By Rod Nickel ANZAC, Alberta (Reuters) - A massive wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, that has grown to five times its initial size has spread south, forcing more evacuations on Thursday after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation's energy heartland. The weather forecast has called for cooler temperatures and possible rain, offering hope that controlling the blaze could become easier. Late Wednesday, flames fanned south from Fort McMurray, the main city in Canada's oil sands region.