First-time weekly jobless claims in the U.S. rose by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 during the week to Saturday, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The total was above most consensus expectations for around 319,000 to 320,000 new claims.
The government revised down the prior week’s tally for initial jobless claims slightly to 310,000 from the originally reported 311,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – was up 250 claims to 319,500 from the prior week’s revised level of 319,250.
Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, rose by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2,836,000 during the week ending March 22. This four-week moving average was down 13,500 to 2,842,250.