Jobless claims jump in warning sign for labor market

A job seeker (C) talks to an exhibitor at the Colorado Hospital Association health care career fair in Denver April 9, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits climbed last week at the fastest pace in six months, a worrisome sign for the economy which has been hit by government austerity.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the biggest jump since November and confounded analysts’ expectations for a more modest increase.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported.

A Labor Department analyst said no states had estimated their data, and that there were no signs furloughs for government employees played a significant role in last week’s increase in claims.

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