The number of workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose last week as the manufacturing, construction and education sectors shed employees, adding to worries that the economic recovery is slowing.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 in the week ended June 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 450,000 from the previously reported 456,000, which was revised to up to 460,000 in Thursday's report.
Last week's data was in the survey period for the government's closely monitored employment report for June. A Labor Department official said states had reported claims in manufacturing, construction and education sectors.
The four-week moving average of new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market trends, slipped 500 to 463,500.
The slow labor market recovery is putting a wrinkle on the broader economy's revival from the worst downturn since the 1930s.
Private hiring slowed sharply last month, while retail sales and new home construction fell, hinting at some loss of momentum in the recovery that started in the second half of 2009. Analysts, however, see little chance of the economy slipping back into recession.
After falling rapidly last year, jobless claims have made little progress in 2010. Analysts see this as a sign that while layoffs have abated, companies are still not confident enough to add to payrolls, indicating unemployment will remain uncomfortably high for sometime.
Others believe that unemployment benefits, which have been extended because of the gravity of the jobless situation, may be inadvertently contributing to keeping claims elevated.
A near 10 percent unemployment rate is hurting President Barack Obama's approval ratings, and dissatisfaction with the economy could cost the Democratic Party control of Congress in November's mid-term elections.
In the first week of June, the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 88,000 to 4.57 million, the Labor Department said.
The insured unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, edged up to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)