Despite several weeks of perceived decline, the U.S. unemployment rate took an unexpected step backwards during the holiday week. This news follows a recent survey by the Department of Labor that showed Americans seeking unemployment benefits had fallen to its lowest point since before the 2008 financial crisis, the Associated Press reports.
Officials found that out of work Americans filing new applications with the Department of Labor every week rose by 15,000 – increasing the total number to 381,000 prior to Christmas Eve.
Despite this apparent setback, many economists remain hopeful about the overall job market outlook.
"Around the holidays, initial claims tend to be volatile, so I think we don't have to read too much into the small rebound today," Nomura economist Aichi Amemiya told CNNMoney. "We believe the labor market continues to improve."
This volatility seems to be characterized by frustrated workers once again beginning to look for new jobs after prolonged unemployment. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that about 143,000 jobs were added each month between September and November – signaling a possible continuation into the New Year.