Jobless claims rise unexpectedly in U.S.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week but remained near its 49-year low. Moreover, the increase appeared unlikely to negate the view that the U.S. labour market remains strong.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 7,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 214,000 for the week ended Oct. 6.

Economists had forecast claims slipping to 206,000 in the latest week from 207,000 a week earlier.

The department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September. The department also said claims for Virginia and Puerto Rico were estimated.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,500 to 209,500 last week.

The labour market is viewed as being near or at full employment, which many economists believe is helping U.S. wages grow a little more quickly and fueling expectations the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates again in December.