(Initial claims article updated for analyst commentary, additional information)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The number of Americans filing unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week, the Labor Department said early Thursday. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims increased by 35,000 to 445,000 in the week ended Jan.8, the highest level since October. Economists were expecting initial claims to drop to 405,000, according to consensus estimates from Bloomberg. Estimates ranged from 400,000 to 415,000. The number of Americans filing continuing claims -- those who have been receiving unemployment insurance for at least a week -- came in significantly lower than expected at 3.87 million for the week ended Jan.1, a decrease of 248,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 4.12 million. Consensus estimates projected continuing claims to drop to 4.08 million from 4.10 million the previous week. The level of continuing claims was the lowest since November 2008.