The applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. rose more than expected last week, after falling to the lowest level since May 2008 in the previous week.

Initial jobless claims in the US increased by 15,000 to 397,000 compared with the revised figure of 371,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Markets had expected the jobless claims to rise 382,000 in the week.

Also, the seasonally adjusted four-week moving average of initial claims, considered as a more accurate measure of employment trends than the weekly number, increased by 3,000 to 392,250.

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits remained unchanged at 3 percent for the week ending Feb. 26.

While Massachusetts witnessed the largest increase in claims with 3,804 people filing for employment benefits, California saw the largest drop in claims at 12,730.

However, the number of people receiving jobless allowance from state and federal governments stood at 8.77 million in the week ended Feb. 19, down 463,351from the prior week.