More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign improvement in the labor market remains uneven.
Jobless claims increased by 4,000 to 371,000 in the week ended Jan. 5, Labor Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 365,000. The prior week’s figures were revised to 367,000 from an initially reported 372,000. “Claims are in a pretty steady range, but the story isn’t in firings so much as it is in hiring,” said Michael Hanson, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, who projected 375,000 claims for the week. “Hiring has been OK. The process is sluggishly moving forward.”