WASHINGTON (AP) — Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase represents a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors.
The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to 365,500, the Labor Department said today. That is still a level consistent with modest hiring.
Last week, California reported a large drop in applications, pushing down the overall figure to the lowest since February 2008. This week, it reported a significant increase. The gyrations occurred because it processed applications last week that were delayed from the previous week.
A department spokesman said the seasonally adjusted numbers "are being distorted ... by an issue of timing."