The number of people applying for unemployment benefits climbed a bit last week, with 21,000 more people seeking assistance than the week before, for a total of 377,000 claiming the benefit. But the overall trend is still in the right direction, with claims steadily decreasing. The four-week moving average, which is seen as a more stable number, "was 377,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average of 380,000." 

The previous week's numbers hit their lowest levels since April 2008, and last week's increase didn't give back all that progress, but it certainly tempered it. Economists look for the total number of applicants to consistently fall below 375,000 for a signal of a job market in strong recovery.