U.S. jobless, price data fan concerns on economy - Yahoo! News WASHINGTON (Reuters) The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly surged last week, while producer prices increased sharply in January, raising potential hurdles for the economy's recovery. Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased 31,000 to 473,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Financial markets had expected them to fall slightly. Another report from the department showed prices paid at the farm and factory gate rose a faster-than-expected 1.4 percent from December as higher gasoline prices and unusually cold temperatures helped boost energy costs. The PPI report may fan worries about inflation pressures, which have largely been contained by excess capacity at factories and a weak labor market. "The bottom line is that the Fed is going to have some decisions to make at its next meeting, since it seems inflation is now back on the table," said Alan Lancz, president at Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio Unemployment is always unexpected and cold is always unusual. Funny how that works. Inflation is the other shoe about to drop.