The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, according to a report on Thursday that could reinforce fears the labor market recovery has stalled.
Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased 1,000 to 427,000, the Labor Department said. However, economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 415,000 from a previously reported count of 422,000.
The rise kept first-time claims perched above the 400,000 mark for the ninth week in a row. Analysts normally associate a level below that with steady job growth.
Fueling concerns about job creation, the U.S. government said on Friday the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent in May while nonfarm employers added a paltry 54,000 workers to their payrolls.
The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid slipped to 3.68 million in the week ended May 28 from 3.75 million. Economists had expected so-called continuing claims to edge down to 3.70 million from the previously reported 3.71 million.