Initial jobless claims were 460,000 for the week ended April 3, a result that was well above expectations and the highest weekly tally since late February.
The 4-week rolling average rose to 450,250, breaking its recent string of weekly declines, although the longer term downward trend since March 2009 appears likely to remain intact.
Broad employment conditions continue to trend positively, as evidenced by the uptick in non-farm payrolls of 162,000 in March.
Today’s report notwithstanding, recent employment related statistics results provide some evidence that the economic recovery may be moving into its next phase in which the labor market shifts from stabilization to job creation.
The nation’s unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.7%, and appears poised to move somewhat higher in the months ahead as improving prospects prod potential workers to re-enter the labor force.
The nagging question will revolve around the pace of job growth: will it be enough to absorb the anticipated increase in the size of the labor force and chip away at the high jobless rate in a reasonable timeframe?