WASHINGTON – The number of people filing an initial claim for U.S. jobless aid rose more than expected to 352,000 last week, a government report showed on Thursday.
Initial jobless claims rose 15,000 from an upwardly revised 337,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department (search) said. Economists forecast a climb to 340,000 from the originally reported 335,000 in the week ended Oct. 2.
The closely watched four-week moving average of claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, rose for the fifth straight week, climbing to 353,000 in the week ended Oct. 9 from an upwardly revised 349,000 in the previous week.
The moving average was at its highest since 355,500 in the week ended Feb. 28.
There were no special factors to explain the rise in new claims, but evidence suggests data has been more volatile than usual in recent weeks because of seasonal adjustment factors, a Labor Department analyst said.
The number of people claiming continued benefits after an initial week of aid fell 11,000 to 2.85 million in the week ended Oct. 2, the latest for which data are available. It was the lowest since 2.79 million in the week ended July 10.