On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped to a seasonally-adjusted 385,000 last week.
That was 28,000 claims higher than the prior week and marked a four-month high for initial jobless claims. The rise surprised economists who had predicted 350,000 new claims, Reuters noted.
Last week saw the third consecutive weekly increase in new benefit claims. The four week rolling average of unemployment claims rose to 354,250, up 11,250.
Today’s report comes on the heels of yesterday’s disappointing ADP private payroll report for March, which found only 158,000 new jobs created last month. Economists had been expecting 200,000 new jobs.
The government will release its non-farm jobs report for March on Friday.