Washington — In another setback for the job market, new unemployment claims unexpectedly jumped last week to the highest level since late January.
The Labor Department's weekly report Thursday showed 380,000 new filings for jobless benefits last week, up 13,000 from the prior week. Most analysts were looking for a decline.
While the latest uptick may have been affected by the Easter holiday, it was the second straight week of increased filings. And the less-volatile, four-week moving average in initial jobless claims also bounced higher, to 368,500 -- up 4,250.
The increase in jobless claims suggests a pickup in layoffs, and it comes after the disappointing jobs report for March in which the economy added a modest 120,000 new jobs, barely enough to keep pace with the labor force population growth.