WASHINGTON New U.S. claims for jobless benefits climbed more steeply than anticipated last week, according to a Labor Department report on Thursday that further underlined the drag on economic activity from persistently weak job markets.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000 in the week ended July 17, the department said, more than erasing a decline in the prior week that included the Independence Day holiday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 445,000 from the previously reported 429,000 in the July 10 week, which was revised slightly down to 427,000 in Thursday's report.
The report covered the survey week for government's closely monitored employment report for July, which is scheduled for release early next month.
A Labor Department official said there were no special factors affecting the numbers, but noted that the Independence Day holiday could have caused a backlog in processing applications.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)