WASHINGTON -- Initial jobless claims were higher than expected last week at 339,000 and figures for the previous week were revised upward, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists had expected the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits to drop to 330,000 in the week ended Saturday after claims had dropped to 336,000 the previous week as the effects of the partial federal government shutdown had ended.
But the Labor Department revised the figure for the week ended Nov. 2 up to 341,000.
The claims data have been more volatile than usual since September, when computer upgrade problems in California and Nevada led those states to underreport their figures.
The 16-day shutdown in October also skewed the figures as furloughed federal workers applied for unemployment benefits.
Economists use the weekly claims report to help determine the state of the labor market. Claims below 350,000 a week indicate moderate job growth.
The less-volatile four-week average fell to 344,000 last week from an upwardly revised 349,750 the previous week.