The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits posted an unexpectedly large increase last week.
The Labor Department reported that 357,000 newly laid off workers filed jobless claims, a rise of 34,000 from the previous week.
Many economists had been expecting claims to fall slightly. Labor Department analysts attributed part of the jump to seasonal adjustment factors.
The four-week moving average for claims, which is designed to smooth out week-to-week fluctuations, rose by 7,250 to 325,000, the highest level since June 3.