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.