Apr. 4 - Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the highest level since November. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The Daily Digit today is 385,000. That's how many jobless claims Americans filed last week, the Labor Department said. It was a rise of 28-thousand. Economists had been expecting a drop. The seasonally adjusted number is now at the highest level since November. Coming on the heels of data on Wednesday showing private employers add the fewest jobs in five months in March, the report implies some weakening in job growth after hiring accelerated in February. But Jim Glassman, managing director at J.P. Morgan, says there is no reason to worry just yet. SOUNDBITE: JIM GLASSMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, J.P. MORGAN, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I personally don't think there is any reason to question the recovery. There are also all kinds of signs all around that show that things are starting to happen. And the data that we watch day to day is very volatile, messed around by seasonal patterns and the way we smooth them. I wouldn't make too much out of it yet." Last week's claims data may have been distorted by the Easter, Passover and spring breaks for schools, which this year were early. Also, the impact of government spending cuts, or sequestration, comes into question. While the claims report has no bearing on Friday's nonfarm payrolls data for March, it hinted at some weakness in hiring. Employers are expected to have added 200,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, according to a Reuters survey, slowing from February's brisk 236,000. The jobless rate is seen unchanged at 7.7 percent. Jim Glassman doesn't expect any surprises, and is optimistic about the direction of the job market. SOUNDBITE: JIM GLASSMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, J.P. MORGAN, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Everywhere you look, with the exception of couple of states, everybody is recovering quite well, even in California, the ground zero of the real estate debacle. California has recovered 55% of the jobs that were lost in the recession, so it feels like all across the country everybody is kind of going through the same thing, which makes it feel like this whole recovery has more momentum. It may be slow, but it doesn't feel fragile. It just seems like there is a recovery dynamic playing out. Thursday's data marks the third straight week of gains in claims.