This week another big jump in unemployment claims

Unfortunately, this is not a repeat from last week. Or the week before. The latest report on weekly unemployment claims from the Department of Labor shows a sharp jump in new claims, from 431,000 to 474,000, the third straight week with an unexpected increase.

Calculated Risk points out that part of this increase is due to the schools in New York having spring break, during which bus drivers are allowed to claim unemployment benefits. But even without that, the number of new claims has been going up in recent weeks after several weeks of decline.

The four-week average is now over 431,000 claims. Economists generally look at 400,000 as a key figure. Below that amount, one can expect positive movement in the unemployment rate.

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