Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 -- the largest increase in two months -- to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to dip to 440,000 from 460,000 the prior week, a number that was unrevised in Thursday's report.
A Labor Department official said the increase in claims last week was mainly due to administrative factors rather than economic ones. I don't think there is a whole lot of layoffs going on, he said.
The four-week moving average of new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 7,500 to 457,750.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)