This week's consumer confidence index from the Conference Board suggested continuing improvement in the U.S. job market. However, the latest Labor Department unemployment insurance data tell a different story.
For the week ending March 26, the seasonally adjusted figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance soared to 350,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 330,000 and nearly 30,000 more than the figure of 321,000 that economists generally expected.
The department's four-week moving average for initial claims also increased, rising to 336,000 last week, some 8,500 more than the previous week's revised average of 327,500.
The number of claims has been moving upward since mid-February, suggesting greater labor market churn is taking place than recent monthly job-creation figures suggest.