The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits grew by a larger-than-expected 30,000 last week, government data showed on Wednesday, taking claims to their highest point since mid-October.
Initial claims for state unemployment aid rose to a seasonally adjusted 335,000 from a revised 305,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said, compared with Wall Street forecasts for 315,000 new claims. The previous week had initially been reported at 303,000.
There were about 10,000 new, non-seasonally adjusted, claims last week related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a Labor Department analyst said, bringing the total number of claims linked to the Gulf Coast storms to 555,000.
Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida late last month, added about 11,000 unadjusted claims for a running total of 27,400.
A four-week moving average of claims, which smooths weekly volatility to provide a better sense of underlying job-market trends, rose 1,250 to 323,250, the highest since the week ending November 5.
The number of unemployed workers who remained on the benefit rolls after drawing an initial week of aid climbed 59,000 to 2.824 million in the week ended November 12, the latest week for which figures are available. That was the largest one-week rise since September.