NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped for the second week in a row, according to government data released Thursday.
There were 484,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 10, up 24,000 from an unrevised 460,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department's weekly report.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected new claims to fall to 440,000 in the latest week. The number of new claims was the highest since the week ended Feb. 20, when initial claims totaled 486,000.
The Labor Department also tracks the four-week moving average of initial claims, which smoothes out volatility in the measure. That number reached 457,750 for the week, up 7,500 from the previous week's downwardly revised average of 450,250.
The Labor Department attributes the jump in initial claims to volatility related to the Easter holiday and other so-called "administrative" factors.
"I agree with this because all of the labor market indicators are looking up" said Gus Faucher, senior economist for Moody's Economy.com.
The number of people filing continuing claims totaled 4,639,000 in the week ended April 3, the most recent data available. That figure was up 73,000 from the preceding week's 4,556,000 claims, and above the 4.58 million economists expected, according to Briefing.com.
The four-week moving average for continuing claims totaled 4,638,500, down 13,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,652,250.
Continuing claims data exclude people whose benefits expired or those who have moved to state or federal extensions. It reflects those filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate have moved closer to approving an extension of unemployment insurance. In March, the government instituted a number of tax breaks for businesses and other measures to spark job growth and bring down the national unemployment rate, which hovers at 9.7%.
Jobless claims jumped the most in Pennsylvania, with an increase of 5,314, primarily due to more layoffs in the construction, service, food, and transportation industries.
New Jersey and Illinois rounded out the top three states with the largest climb in new claims. Conversely, Texas, California, and Florida were the top three states with the largest declines in initial claims.
The report comes on the heels of a spate of upbeat economic data, including Wednesday's strong retail sales report and low inflation reading. And earlier in April the government reported that the U.S. economy added 162,000 jobs in March.
Faucher warned against reading too much into weekly reports, as recent indicators, including hiring surveys, point to continued, albeit slow, growth in non-farm payrolls.
Nike is opening up shop on Amazon.com and the company plans "big shifts" over the coming year. More
Not only do many women depend on insurance coverage for maternity care and contraception, it commonly falls to them to plan health care and coverage for the whole family. Yet as leaders in Washington discuss the future of American health care, women have not always been allowed in the room. More
An open letter signed by the Tesla CEO and 115 other robotics and artificial intelligence experts urges the U.N. to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Despite having more financial "skin in the game" than ever, many consumers don't make any attempt to compare prices for health care services, a newly released study found. More