New applications for unemployment insurance benefits jumped by 16,000 to 276,000 at the end of October, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Economists had expected 262,000 new claims.

Thursday's numbers represent a slight movement away from the rock-bottom levels jobless claims have plumbed over the course of 2015. Applications for jobless benefits are among the brightest spots in a U.S. economy that has seen some potential signs of weakness in other indicators.

The four-week moving average for claims rose by 3,500 to 262,750. That average is still at levels not seen since the 1970s.

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