WASHINGTON — The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers.
The increase also may result from the difficulty the Labor Department has in seasonally adjusting the claims around the Easter holiday, which falls in different weeks each year.
The Labor Department said yesterday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ended April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. That’s worse than economists’ estimates of a drop to 435,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
California also closed its state offices for a holiday on March 31, which probably held down the claims figures.
On an unadjusted basis, claims rose by 6,500, to nearly 415,000.
Initial claims have dropped four out of the past six weeks; many economists say they are likely to soon resume their decline.
Jobless claims peaked during the recession at 651,000 in late March 2009.