The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits jumped to its highest level in more than two years last week amid a surge in applications in hurricane-ravaged Texas, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a firming jobs market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits soared by 62,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Sept. 2, the highest level since April 2015, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The weekly increase was the largest since November 2012. Data for the prior week was unrevised. A Labor Department official said last week’s data had been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which devastated parts of Texas, including unprecedented flooding in Houston.
Unadjusted claims for Texas surged 51,637 last week as some people found themselves temporarily unemployed. Claims for Louisiana were also affected by the storm and increased 258.
In addition, claims for California, Hawaii, Kansas, Puerto Rico, Virginia and Wyoming