The monthly jobs numbers will be released tomorrow and they are even more eagerly anticipated than usual now that the Obamacare deadline (using the term loosely) has passed and attention is being increasingly paid to the next elections in which jobs will likely be the prime issue.

Still, the weekly number is not without meaning and today’s increase in the number first-time claims – an increase of 16,000 to a five-week high of 326,000 – can’t be called good news or a show of strength after the snows and storms of winter.

As Lorraine Woellert of Bloomberg reports, economists’ expectations were, as expected, off the mark:

The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 319,000 claims.

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