WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week of Oct. 7-13, the Labor Department said Thursday, erasing the sharp drop from the prior week. Claims had fallen two weeks ago to a four-year low, but the decline mainly stemmed from a statistical quirk in the data that often happens at the end of a quarter and it was not reflective of a rapidly improving labor market.
Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 342,000 from an original reading of 339,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to rise to 365,000 in the most recent week. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, edged up by 750 to 365,500.