The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, but it was difficult to get a clear read on the labor market’s health because two states appeared to be working through a backlog of unprocessed claims.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 309,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims data have been thrown into disarray since an update to government computer systems in California, the nation’s most populous state, and Nevada created a backlog in the processing of new claims two weeks ago.
That initially led to a sharp decline in new processed claims earlier this month, and a Labor Department analyst said the two states still appeared to be working through the backlog, which he said could take another week or two.
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