Initial jobless claims jumped much more than expected last week, by 20,000 to 294,000.
That’s the highest level for claims since the week of February 28, 2015.
Economists had forecast that first-time filings for jobless claims totaled 270,000, according to Bloomberg.
The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out the weekly volatility, jumped by 10,250 to 268,250, around where it was mid-February.
Overall, the spike is no reason to be alarmed about the labour market. Initial claims have not crossed the 300,000 mark for 62 straight weeks.
“The numbers in April were probably a little low given the conditions in the labour market,” Gus Faucher, PNC deputy chief economist, told Business Insider.
PNC forecasts that average monthly job growth of 180,000 this year should allow for labour-market slack to continue being absorbed before the economy reaches full employment in the second half of the year.
Faucher noted that the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for March released Tuesday showed that the pace of layoffs is still very low.
“I don’t think that there’s any indication that we’re seeing a slowdown in hiring or increase in layoffs or anything like that,” he said.