New claims for US unemployment insurance rose last week, ending a brief respite below the 400,000 threshold in the troubled jobs market, government data showed Thursday.
Initial jobless claims climbed to 408,000 in the week ending August 13, a gain of 9,000 from the prior week, the Labor Department said.
The department's revision of the previous week's number showed claims had only squeaked below the 400,000 barrier: 399,000 claims instead of the previously estimated 395,000.
The claims rise last week topped the average analyst estimate of 400,000.
"This was a slightly larger increase than expected, a reminder that the labor market has yet to break into sustained improvement," said Sara Kline at Moody's Analytics.
The total number of people drawing all unemployment benefits in the week ending July 30 dropped by 143,737 to 7.34 million, according to the department, With 14 million workers without jobs, unemployment in July fell slightly to 9.1 percent as government layoffs continued to offset rising hiring in the private sector.