Jobless claims in the U.S. jumped by the most in six months in the week ending Jan. 8, tempering optimism that the labor market was beginning to emerge from its slump, according to Reuters. On Thursday, the Labor Department’s weekly report showed the initial claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly to a seasonally adjusted level of 445,000 from 410,000 the previous week, marking the highest level since October. Economists had been expecting a drop to 405,000, and a department official noted the jump likely reflected a backlog of claims following the holidays.
The disappointing report “highlights the patchy recovery” for the job market, said Omer Esiner of Commonwealth Foreign Exchange, who added, “It will be a slow process to bring down the jobless rate.” A separate report from RealtyTrac found that in 2010 U.S. banks foreclosed on more than one million for the first time, up from 918,000 the year before. The milestone was reached even despite slowing foreclosures in the fourth quarter due to controversial documentation practices.