Economists want to see more before deciding if increased applications mark a trend

Thursday - 4/4/2013, 1:39pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Economists say they want to see more numbers, before concluding that the job market's upward trajectory has changed.

The Labor Department reported today that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week by 28,000, the third straight increase.

But one private economist tells clients that the surge may just represent "seasonal adjustment problems." Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics says the numbers probably don't indicate any "fundamental change in the trend," but he adds that it "remains to be seen."

Another indicator will come tomorrow, with the release of the March unemployment report.

The Labor Department also said the figures may have been affected by the East holiday. The department says the holiday's timing varies from year to year, which makes it difficult to adjust for school closings and other factors that can alter the data.

Applications for jobless benefits have declined steadily since November, pushing the average to a five-year low three weeks ago.

%@AP Links

211-c-15-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"adjusted 385 thousand"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports the number of people filing for unemployment benefits is up again. (4 Apr 2013)

<> 00:15 "adjusted 385 thousand"

210-v-34-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)--The number of people filing for unemployment benefits has hit a four-month high. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (4 Apr 2013)

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APPHOTO NYBZ141: In this Friday, March 29, 2013, people line up outside a restaurant in front of a help wanted sign in Richmond, Va. The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose to a four-month high in the week ending March 30, 2013, although the increase partly reflects seasonal distortions around the spring holidays. The Labor Department says weekly applications increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000. That is the highest level since late November. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 354,250. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (29 Mar 2013)


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