Jobless claims for the week ending August 13 rose to 408,000, climbing over 400,000, the threshold that economists say claims need to drop below to dent unemployment, according to Labor Department data released Thursday.
Last week brought a glimmer of good news when initial claims for jobless benefits were reported at 395,000. They were revised upward in the Labor Department's most recent report to 399,000.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had predicted new claims to increase to 400,000.
The 4-week moving average, a less-volatile gauge of labor-market health, continued to inch toward 400,000 as it fell from last week's revised average of 406,000 to 402,500.
U.S. stock futures, which were down in advance of the report's release, remained down, indicating that the Dow Jones industrial average may open 200 points lower.