The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment rose more than expected last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a strengthening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week ended Feb. 7, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The prior week's data was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 285,000 last week.
A Labor Department analyst said the department had estimated claims for Massachusetts because of a snowstorm that had closed offices in the state. While Massachusetts later submitted claims data, the figures were not very different from the department's estimate.