Courtney Schlisserman
Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8 (Bloomberg) — More Americans unexpectedly filed claims for jobless benefits last week, a jump that may in part reflect difficulty in seasonally adjusting the data ahead of the Easter holiday.

Initial jobless applications increased by 18,000 to 460,000 in the week ended April 3, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The week leading up to Easter and the two weeks that follow are traditionally a volatile time for claims, a Labor Department analyst said, making it difficult to discern the underlying trend in applications.

“The trend is still down,” said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York, who had the highest claims forecast among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. “I would look for continued gradual improvement as we go forward.”

Companies like Home Depot Inc. are adding to workforces for the first time in years on mounting confidence that sales and profits will continue to improve, while others are still waiting for sustained increases in demand. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday that joblessness, home foreclosures and weak lending to small businesses pose challenges to the economy.

Full story here.