April 12, 2012
The number of Americans filing for jobless aid rose last week to the highest level since January, a development that could raise fears the labor market recovery was stalling after job creation slowed in March.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, defying economists' expectations for a drop to 355,000.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 4,250 to 368,500.
Some economists blamed the Easter holidays for the spike in claims and expected applications to trend lower in coming weeks.
"It's very difficult to know the extent to which that's driven by seasonal effects from Easter or not," said Eric Green, chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
"This is not a game changer, this does not confirm the weakness in the report we saw last Friday. We suspect that much of the increase was due to seasonal issues and we would therefore expect it to drift lower."