The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but not enough to signal a material shift from the recent pace of moderate job growth. A separate report showed that U.S. manufacturing activity growth slowed slightly in June.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 340,000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,500 to 348,250.
A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there was nothing unusual in the state-level data.
Despite the increase last week, claims remained in the middle of their range for this year.