The number of newly-laid off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, as the job market recovers at a slow and uneven pace.
The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 482,000. Wall Street economists had expected a small drop.
A Labor Department analyst said that much of the increase is due to administrative backlogs leftover from the winter holidays in the state agencies that process the claims.
The total number of people receiving benefits, meanwhile, rose sharply as more recipients began receiving emergency extended benefits, paid for by the federal government.
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