April 12 - U.S. jobless claims surprisingly rose last week, adding to concerns of a possible slowdown in the labor market. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Unemployment is going up again in the U.S. First-time applications for jobless benefits rose last week to their highest since January. The surprising rise, along with lackluster job creation in March, is sparking fear the labor market's rebound is fizzling. Some economists, though, are questioning whether the Easter holiday skewed last week's initial claims, saying more data is needed to confirm the jobs recovery is indeed slowing down. Other parts of the weekly Labor Department report suggest steady job gains: first-time applications and the four-week moving average remain below 400,000 - a level consistent with job growth - and long-term claims have dropped for the fifth consecutive week. Conway Gittens, Reuters