WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims surged 35,000 to 445,000 the week ending Jan. 8 as a backlog of holiday-delayed filings were processed, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week moving average for new unemployment claims, a less volatile figure, rose 5,500 to 416,500,

Labor economists said the year’s first week often has the highest claims and does not reflect a cascade of new layoffs.

Economists expected 404,000 initial claims and 4.1 million continuing claims. Continuing claims fell 248,000 to 3.879 million for the week ending Jan. 1.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.