From Yahoo Finance:
A surprising jump in first-time claims for unemployment benefits is a painful reminder that jobs remain scarce six months into the economic recovery.
The increase deflated hopes among some analysts that the economy would produce a net gain in jobs in January.
The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 482,000. Wall Street economists expected a small drop, according to Thomson Reuters.
The four-week average, which smoothes fluctuations, rose for the first time since August, to 448,250.
A Labor Department analyst said that much of the increase last week was due to administrative backlogs leftover from the winter holidays in the state agencies that process the claims.