WASHINGTON – The number of people filing forunemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by the largest amount in three months. The surge is evidence of how volatile the job market remains, even as the economy grows.
Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 471,000 last week, up by 25,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the first increase in five weeks and the biggest jump since a gain of 40,000 in February.
Jobless claims rise by largest amount in 3 months
The total was the highest since new claims reached 480,000 on April 10. It also pushed the average for the last four weeks to 453,500.
"Although no one expects this volatile series to go in one direction every single week, this is clearly a disappointment," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Stocks slid as investors' already bleak view of the world economy worsened with another drop in the euro and the disappointing U.S. employment news. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 250 points in early afternoon trading.
In a separate report, a private research group said its index of leading economic indicators dipped slightly in April. It was the first decline in more than a year. Six of the 10 components on the Conference Board's index deteriorated. Among them: U.S. residents filed fewer applications to build homes; vendors were slower in delivering supplies to companies; the unemployed filed more claims for jobless aid; and consumers' confidence dropped.