Jobless claims rose by 14,000 to 344,000 in the period ended April 26, the highest level since Feb. 22, the Labor Department reported.
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 320,000.
“There’s usually a bit of trouble with the seasonal adjustments around Easter,” said David Sloan, a senior economist at 4cast Inc. “So I think we’ll still be in a bit of a corrective spell from the excessively low numbers we had two weeks ago and three weeks ago. But overall, the trend has improved in the last few months.”
The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 320,000 from 317,000 in the prior week.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits rose by 97,000 to 2.77 million in the week ended April 19.