WASHINGTON – A spike in unemployment claims Thursday underscored the bumpiness of the economic rebound: Consumers are spending more. Factories are making more. But layoffs have not tapered off as fast as expected.

In its report on unemployment claims, the government said the number of newly laid-off people signing up for jobless aid last week surged 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000. That was the most since late February. Economists had predicted a drop in first-time claims.

It marked the second week that claims unexpectedly leaped. The government cautioned against reading much into the past two weeks’ figures, saying they were skewed by seasonal adjustments related to Easter.

But some economists were disheartened. Mike Feroli, economist at JP Morgan Chase Bank, called the back-to-back increases “a clear disappointment” and “a puzzle against the backdrop of generally improving economic data.”

 


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