Worker applications for unemployment benefits rose to 861,000 last week, halting a downward trend that pointed to an improving labor market amid other
Worker applications for unemployment benefits rose to 861,000 last week, halting a downward trend that pointed to an improving labor market amid other signs that the economic recovery is picking up.
The Labor Department on Thursday said the increase was accompanied by a 55,000 upward revision of claims in the prior week, on a seasonally adjusted basis. That put the four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, at 833,000, slightly lower than the prior week.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast that the number of workers applying for unemployment benefits would fall to a seasonally adjusted 773,000 last week.
Jobless claims—a proxy for layoffs—remain above the pre-coronavirus pandemic peak of 695,000, but have fallen from 926,000 in early January.
“Things are not as stalled as they were in January, but we don’t have any momentum,” said Marianne Wanamaker, a labor economist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and former adviser to the Trump White House.