LONDON (SHARECAST) - US weekly jobless claims rose by 15,000 last week to 382,000, the highest in eight weeks and above the 370,000 expected by the market consensus.
The previous week's claims were revised higher to 367,000 from 365,000, the US Labor Department reported.
The four-week moving average for initial claims rose by 3,250 to 375,000 from last week's revised reading of 371,750. The insured unemployment rate was steady at 2.6%.
Continuous unemployment claims, which includes those claims not filed for the first time, fell by 49,000 to 3,283,000 but remained higher than then 3,318,000 expected.
The four-week moving average rose by 7,500 to 3,316,500 from the previous week's revised reading of 3,324,000.
Analysts at Digital Look said: "Initial unemployment claims rose to an eight-week high but the US Labor Department noted that claims may have been affected by tropical storm Isaac. On the positive side, continuous claims have fallen.
"We are seeing mixed results in the first week of September that does not reveal any significant improvement from a weak month of August. The jobs market weighs heavily on the Federal Reserve and the latest data may convince Fed president Ben Bernanke to trigger more quantitative easing."