The number of new applications by the Americans for claiming unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the underlying trend continued to remain consistent with a strengthening labor market.
The US Labor Department report, released on Thursday, showed the initial claims for state unemployment benefits surged 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week that ended on February 7.
The data of prior week was revised to show 1,000 additional applications were received as compared to the previously reported one.
Some economists had predicted jobless claims increasing to 285,000 last week.
According to a Labor Department analyst, the claims data for Massachusetts was estimated by the department due to the closure of state’s offices amid severe snowstorm. The data was, however, later submitted by the state. The figures were not very different from the estimates by the department.
The moving average of claims for four-week decreased 3,250 to 289,750 last week.
The difficulties while adjusting the data for severe seasonal fluctuations led to the volatility in jobless claims towards the 2014- end and early this year.
The data continued to point towards strengthening conditions in the labor market.
Over the past three months, the country’s economy has added over a million extra jobs. Such an achievement was last reported in 1997.
The jobless claims report showed the number of Americans still getting benefits after an initial week of financial assistance dropped 51,000 to 2.35 million in the week that ended on January 31.