Unemployment claims took a turn upward last week to 320, 000, according to the latest report from the Labor Department. The jump of 7,000 brings the total to the highest number since May of 2014.
The jump bucks analysts surveyed by Bloomberg and Reuters who predicted a drop to 295,000. It’s a sign the harsh winter may be taking a toll on the economy and that the robust jobs market may be experiencing a bit of a slowdown.
The more reliable four-week moving average is up by 10, 250 to 304,750. Claims are still down considerably compared to the same period last year which came in at 337,250.
Despite the jump, Friday’s report for February is expected to show an addition of 235,000 new jobs in February bringing the unemployment rate to a six-year low of 5.6%.
In an additional report, productivity was adjusted down for Q4, from a drop of 1.8% to 2.2%. The revised output of goods and services fell to 2.8% from 3.2%. And labor costs rose 4.1% instead of the 2.7% originally reported.