Recovery? What recovery? The number of Americans filing for new unemployment benefits rose to the highest number in eight months, a sign that nearly half a million people have lost their jobs since last summer —YL
While the surprise jump in initial claims for unemployment benefits was blamed on factors ranging from spring break layoffs to the introduction of an emergency benefits program, economists said it corroborated reports this week indicating a loss of momentum in job creation.
New claims for state jobless benefits rose 43,000 to 474,000, the highest since mid-August, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists had expected claims to fall.
One factor that likely helped push claims up and that could prove lingering were auto layoffs brought about by supply disruptions from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.
A second report showed nonfarm productivity increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, braking from a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.
“We do not think that the entire rise in claims over the last month can be explained by special factors alone,” said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Research in New York. “It seems instead as if the improvement in the labor market slowed a bit.”