The number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to 496,000, the highest level in three months.

In fact, this feels like a return to earlier this year, where from January to mid-November, claims hovered above 500,000.

An economist at the Department of Labor told the Wall Street Journal that the increases in claims were due to states processing a backlog of claims in the states that were hit by snowstorms earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the number of people claiming emergency extended unemployment benefits in the first week of February fell by 318,000, but there are still nearly five and a half million people who have been out of work long enough to exhaust their regular unemployment benefits.