The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits was unexpectedly higher than anticipated last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had predicted the number would be unchanged from last week at 240,000, but the actual number of applications was 244,000.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims inched up by 500 to 1.965 million.
The greatest number of first-time claims were seen in five states – Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada and Washington. Iowa’s initial claims rose the most (573).
The largest decreases were in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri and New York. Michigan had the greatest decrease (5,239).