WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people filing new claims for
unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by the largest
amount in three months. The big surge was a setback to hopes that
layoffs were declining.
The Labor Department says that applications for unemployment
benefits rose to 471,000 last week, up by 25,000 from the previous
week. It was the first increase in five weeks and the biggest jump
since a gain of 40,000 in February.
The forecast had been for claims to fall by around 4,000 from
the previous week. The unexpectedly large rise in new claims
underscored that even though the economy is growing, improvements
in the labor market are coming in fits and starts.