Number of first-time jobless claims rose more than expected last week

The number of first-time applications for unemployment benefits rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The new figures come after two consecutive weeks that saw jobless claims fall to their lowest levels in seven years.

Although the new figures are higher than expected, economic experts told Reuters that this uptick of jobless claims “probably reflected difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations given a late Easter this year,” and is not necessarily an indication that job growth has stalled.

“It’s largely reflective of the effect from the Easter holiday. We are not that concerned,” said Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“(Claims) have been on a declining track since December and consistent with the employment gains we have seen,” he added.