Initial jobless claims jump ...

Initial jobless claims took a significant jump upward, shocking the ever-credulous Associated Press back into using their favorite adverb.  The actual increase is in line with the general trend for the last six months, but after the White House claimed credit for the first solid month of actual job growth, the news shocks those who haven’t paid closer attention:

The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by the largest amount in three months. The big surge was a setback to hopes that layoffs were declining.

The Labor Department says that applications for unemployment benefits rose to 471,000 last week, up by 25,000 from the previous week. It was the first increase in five weeks and the biggest jump since a gain of 40,000 in February.

The data from the full 2010 set shows that this is within the band we have seen for the past several months:

The green line is the seasonally adjusted number.  The initial jobless claims have practically flatlined.  The trendline is barely in decrease over this period. That means we’re going to see minor upticks and declines on a week-to-week basis — in fact, it should be entirely expected.

The AP says that this is shows that the labor market is growing “in fits and starts.”  Well, it’s really showing that it grew once in a start, and that it’s mainly had fits in 2010.