The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly last week to a five-week high, as evidence of an improving labor market remained elusive.
Initial jobless claims filed in the week ended July 5 increased by 5,000 to 439,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Labor Department, a level not seen since the end of May when initial claims totaled 448,000.
The previous week's initial claims number was revised up to 434,000 from 430,000.
Economists expected a downturn in claims last week, predicting a total of 420,000. The four-week moving average, which gauges the underlying trend in claims, rose to 426,750 from the previous week's revised 425,750.
Continuing claims increased by 87,000 to 3.82 million, the highest level since early 1983.