More Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, as improvement in the job market remains choppy.
About 367,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended September 29, up 4,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The weekly claims figure is often seen as a proxy for layoffs, so when it rises, it's considered to be a discouraging sign for the job market.
That said, it's been hard to get a clear reading on jobless claims lately.
"Jobless claims data show little momentum in either direction and continue to signal that labor market conditions have been broadly unchanged in recent months," said Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist with Barclays, in a note to clients.
Initial claims have been bouncing around between 350,000 to 400,000 per week since the beginning of the year.