Jobs unemployment career fairREUTERS/Rick WilkingJob seekers listen to a presentation at the Colorado Hospital Association health care career fair in Denver April 9, 2013.

The Department of Labour’s latest tally of
initial unemployment claimsis out, and the numbers look bad.

Claims surged to 374,000 from 308,000 a week ago.

This was much worse than the 311,000 expected by economists.

Bloomberg reports that around half of the 66,000 increase was due to technical issues in California.

“The dismissal of non-federal employees after Congress failed to compromise on a budget accounted for about another 15,000,” reported Bloomberg citing a Labour Department spokesman.

Even excluding these items, claims would’ve been worse than expected.

The jump in claims caused the 4-week average to climb to 325,000, up from 305,000 a week ago.

“The broader picture is still that labour market conditions are improving, albeit not quite as much as we previously thought,” said Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth.

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