The jump in new claims tops analysts' expectations.
The number of initial jobless claims filed for the week ending July 14 was 386,000, a 34,000 increase from the previous week, the Department of Labor announced on Thursday.
The spike in jobless claims was higher than what economists had expected. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted 365,000 initial claims--21,000 fewer claims than were actually filed.
But the less volatile four-week moving average for initial unemployment benefit claims dropped slightly, falling 1,500 to 375,500 from last week's revised average of 377,000.
This week's rise comes after a sharp 24,000-claim drop for the week of July 7, which some analysts contributed to retooling in the automotive industry. That number was revised slightly Thursday from the originally reported 26,000, with the total number of claims revised to 352,000.