WASHINGTON The number of workers filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose a bigger-than-expected 35,000 last week, and the number of workers remaining on jobless benefits climbed to a four-year high, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Initial claims for jobless benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 380,000 in the week ended April 26, from a revised 345,000 the previous week. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to rise to 360,000 from an initially reported 342,000.
The four-week moving average of new claims, a more reliable guide to underlying labor trends because it irons out weekly fluctuations, fell last week to 363,750 from a revised 370,250.
However, the number of workers remaining on jobless benefits jumped to a bigger-than-expected 3.019 million in the week ended April 19, the most recent week for which data is available. That was the highest level since April 2004.
Analysts were expecting continuing claims to rise to 2.95 million.
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)