The US jobless claims climbed to the highest level since September as Americans in large numbers turned up for filing new applications last week to claim their unemployment benefits. Despite the gains, the underlying trend continued to remain consistent with a firming labor market.
The Labor Department report, released on Wednesday, showed that the initial claims for state jobless benefits surged 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 313,000 in the week that ended on November 22. This is for the first time since early September when jobless claims has broken above the 300,000 threshold.
The four-week moving average of unemployment claims continued to remain below 300,000 for an 11th consecutive week, signaling improvement in the US jobs market.
The economists and market watchers polled by different agencies had forecast claims falling to about 288,000 last week.
According to a Labor Department analyst, no special factors were present to influence the jobless claims data for last week.
The unemployment claims figures are considered as a better measure of prevailing trends in the labor market as it settles week-to-week volatility.
The Labor Department report also showed the number of Americans still receiving the jobless benefits after an initial week of aid slumped 17,000 to 2.32 million in the week that ended on November 15, which marks the lowest level since December 2000.