The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits rose to more than a four-month high last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 224,000 for the week ended Nov. 17, the highest level since the end of June, the Labor Department said on Wednesday.
Data for the prior week was revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 215,000 in the latest week.
The Labor Department said no states were estimated last week. It said claims for North Carolina and Florida continued to be affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, respectively.
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 2,000 to 218,500 last week.
The claims data covered the survey period for the nonfarm payrolls component of November's employment report.