The number of workers drawing unemployment aid jumped to a record high in early February according to data on Thursday that highlighted the deteriorating labor market as a 13-month recession deepens.
A separate report showed prices received by producers rose last month, breaking a five straight month declining trend as energy costs rebounded.
The number of people remaining on the benefits rolls after drawing an initial week of aid surged 170,000 to 4.99 million in the week ended Feb 7, the most recent week for which the data is available, the Labor Department said.
That was the highest reading on records dating back to 1967. Analysts had estimated so-called continued claims would be 4.86 million from a previously reported 4.81 million the prior week.
“We’re maintaining a high level of labor market deterioration. In general I think we’re moving towards the pace of maximum contraction in the economy, but evidence for that is only preliminary,” said Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore.