(Initial claims article updated for analyst commentary, additional information)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The number of Americans filing unemployment claims rose last week, the Labor Department said early Thursday. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims increased by 18,000 to 409,000 in the week ended Jan.1, from the previous week's revised estimate of 391,000. An increase in the claims figure was widely expected. Analysts were expecting initial claims to rise to 405,000, after dropping to 388,000 in the previous week, according to consensus estimates by Briefing.com. The number of Americans filing continuing claims -- those who have been receiving unemployment insurance for at least a week -- came in slightly higher than expected at 4.13 million for the week ended Dec. 25, a decrease of 47,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 4.15 million. Consensus estimates projected continuing claims to drop to 4.07 million from 4.12 million the previous week.