The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 last week from the week before, to 417,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.
Though the number of claims remained well above the level normally associated with a healthy economy, one factor was temporary. According to Reuters, "Verizon workers filed 8,500 claims for jobless benefits last week, after submitting 12,500 applications the previous week."
Since last week, those workers have ended their walkout.
Bloomberg News adds that "the report signals that excluding the communications dispute, companies are slowing the pace of firings, which may ease concern that consumers will cut back on spending. At the same time, an unemployment rate at 9.1 percent is a reminder that a sustained labor-market rebound has yet to develop two years into the economic recovery."