The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to 316,000, the highest level since June, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The insured unemployment rate for the previous week remained unchanged at 1.9 percent, with a total of 2.559 million people nationwide filing claims, the report said.

The biggest gains last week were in Wisconsin, California, and Iowa, while the biggest declines were in Michigan, Illinois, and Puerto Rico.

Published on: Aug 9, 2007