The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week in a sign concerns about a weak economy were sapping an already beleaguered labor market, data showed on Thursday.
Applications for unemployment benefits climbed to 428,000 in the week ending September10 from an upwardly revised 417,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.
It was the second straight week in which claims rose. Wall Street analysts had been looking for a dip to 410,000.
Excluding one week in early August, claims have held above 400,000 since early April. A Labor Department official said there was no discernible effect from Hurricane Irene or other storms in the national reading.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out volatility, rose to 419,500 from 415,500 the prior week.
Continuing claims eased to 3.726 million in the week ending September 3 from 3.738 million the previous week. The number of total recipients on benefit rolls was 7.144 million.
U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in August, with zero net job creation raising fears of a new recession and putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further at its meeting later this month.