A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended February 9th.
The report said initial jobless claims rose to 239,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level of 235,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 225,000 from the 234,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average climbed to 231,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 225,000.
With the increase, the four-week moving average reached its highest level since hitting 234,000 in late January of 2018.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, increased by 37,000 to 1.773 million in the week ended February 2nd.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose to 1,750,250, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 1,741,250.
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