The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week but remained near a 49-year low, and the increase appeared unlikely to dislodge the view that the U.S. labor market remains strong.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000 for the week ended Oct. 6, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 206,000 in the latest week from 207,000 a week earlier.
The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September. The department also said claims for Virginia and Puerto Rico were estimated.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,500 to 209,500 last week.