May 13, 2016 09:32 AM EDT

Verizon Strike 2016 News: Company To Blame For High Unemployment Rate In U.S.?

The Verizon strike 2016 news just keeps on rolling. This time, the controversy surrounding the company's workforce may have affected the entire nation's unemployment rate.

Reuters reported that there was a surge in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. Economists have blamed the Verizon strike 2016 for aggravating the situation to a 14-month high since the data did not indicate a decline in the overall labor market.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits have increased from 20,000 to 294,000 for the week ending on May 7. According to the Labor Department, this is the highest level since late Feb. 2015.

"We have to look past the noise in the latest jobless claims number because it was likely influenced by the Verizon strike," Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said. "The broader underlying trend in claims remains very constructive."

RBC Capital Markets added that first-time applications for jobless benefits would have dropped last week if it weren't for the Verizon strike 2016 issue. Last week, unadjusted jobless claims rose in New York and Pennsylvania, which economists have tied to the rallies against the telecommunication company.

Meanwhile, other Verizon strike 2016 news have revealed that CWA organizing director Tim Dubnau, along with other strikers, were chased through the outskirts of Manila, Philippines, by armed men on motorcycles, Fortune reported. Apparently, the group was followed by a private security team after they visited a Verizon office in the area.

This is just one of the many cases of sabotage and harassment from both sides. According to New York Daily News, a vandalism stunt in Queens is being linked to Verizon strike 2016 participants.

Delaware Online has noted that the strike has become "increasingly bitter." The telco has blamed picketers for cutting cable and phone lines. Union leaders, on the other hand, claim that those were the result of the company hiring untrained workers to do the job.

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