Jobless Claims Rise to 484,000 First-Time Claims

The number of newly laid off people signing up for unemployment benefits rose sharply for the second straight week, suggesting that jobs are still hard to come by even as the economic recovery gains traction.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that first-time requests for jobless benefits rose by 24,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the highest level since late February. Economists were predicting claims would fall.

Still, a government analyst cautioned that the figures were clouded by seasonal adjustment difficulties related to the Easter holiday.