Initial jobless claims rose by 16,000 last week, the Labor Department reported April 3.
Applications for jobless benefits for the week ended March 29 rose to a five-week high of 326,000 from the previous week, Labor said.
Economists had forecast 319,000 new claims, Bloomberg News reported.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, was little changed at 319,500.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits rose by 22,000 to 2.84 million in the previous week ended March 22.