While there has been plenty of positive news emerging regarding the national unemployment rate – which is currently around 8.3 percent – many economists have remained skeptical about how accurately these figures reflect the reality of the job marketplace. Since the end of 2011, the economy has seemed to be on a slow but steady road to recovery, but a recent finding by the U.S. Department of Labor could indicate an unfortunate roadblock to that goal.
According to Bloomberg the Labor Department reported that jobless claims jumped higher than expected in the first week of April. The number of applications for unemployment benefits by Americans increased by 13,000 at the beginning of the month for a total of 380,000 – the most significant rise since the end of January. This comes after the new source's survey that predicted a median of 355,000 claims.
However, Reuters notes that some of this unexpected increase could be the result of seasonal fluctuations caused by the Easter holiday and schools going on spring break.
"The increase caught our attention, but the new few weeks will be very telling," economist Ryan Sweet of Moody's Analytics told the news source. "If claims continue to tick higher then it will be a signal that the sword over the jobs market is real. For now we take this report with a grain of salt."