WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims surged by 51,000 to a three-month-high of 454,000 during the week ended Jan. 22, as new filings delayed by bad weather poured in from the Southeast, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims increased 94,000 to 3.991 million the week ended Jan. 15. Economists expected 405,000 initial claims and 3.85 million continuing claims, according to Thomson Reuters.

“Initial claims jumped in the latest week, boosted by the severe snowstorms that hit many parts of the country two weeks ago,” said Steven Wood of Insight Economics. “Despite some improvement, the labor markets remain relatively soft.

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