On Oct. 5, officials had said that they expected to see fewer jobless claims in October than they had in September. But the Labor Department revealed on Thursday that new claims jumped unexpectedly, indicating a more robust job market may not be getting that much better.
First, here’s an overview of the raw numbers:
The most recent numbers from the Labor Department came in at 221,000 new filings. That was up 10,000 from September, and was higher than what experts had expected.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected claims to fall to 225,000, and show a 3 percent decrease, compared with September. And economists had predicted a decline of 5 percent, compared with August.
Two companies announced early last month that they were laying off more workers than expected, a sign that any anticipated surge in job creation had not happened.
And earlier this month, the business website Glassdoor released a survey that found that 58 percent of workers said they expected the labor market to continue strengthening.
But last month, the Employment Department announced that overall employment dropped by only 38,000, causing economists to question whether the unemployment rate should be expected to remain near the current level of 3.9 percent.
During the last two months, the labor market has added an average of 120,000 jobs a month, lower than the 200,000 average added in the second quarter. On Friday, the Labor Department will announce how many jobs were added in September, and analysts predict another increase.
The government offers a wide variety of unemployment claims, which are calculated using different methods. So there can be no general summary, but here are some of the more complicated ones.
The less-restrictive category, which does not include those who have exhausted all their benefits, received 495,000 new claims last month. A year ago, it received just 255,000 new filings.