The number of first time jobless claims increased for the second consecutive week.

Initial jobless claims filed for the week ending on August 18 rose to 372,000--a 4,000 increase from the previous week, according to figures released by the Department of Labor on Thursday.

It was the second consecutive week in which the number rose, and the figure was a high for the month of August.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 365,000 jobless claims, and Reuters reported that the disappointing figure was yet another sign of a struggling economic recovery.

Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. Economist at BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg, "[The economy is] still very sluggish, and growth itself is implying we should not see any acceleration in hiring at this point."