The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, according to the Labor Department.
Data released Thursday showed 744,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended April 3. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 680,000 filings. The previous week’s total was revised higher by 9,000 to 728,000.
Continuing claims for the week ended March 27, meanwhile, fell to 3.734 million from the prior week’s downwardly revised 3.75 million. Economists had expected the number of continuing claims to decline to 3.65 million.
The unexpected increase in initial jobless claims comes after the March nonfarm payroll report showed signs the U.S. labor market is healing. Employers added 918,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 6%, its lowest level since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economists are forecasting the economy could add more than 1 million jobs for each of the next several months.