New applications for U.S. jobless aid rose more than expected to 339,000 last week, and the more-reliable four-week moving average held steady at a 6-month high, government data released on Thursday showed.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose 20,000 from an upwardly adjusted 319,000, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting an 8,000 rise in claims from the initially reported 317,000.

The four-week moving average of new claims, considered a better gauge of labor market trends because it irons out weekly swings, held steady at 330,000. This average for the previous week was revised up to 330,000, the highest since 333,000 in the week ending April 21.

California had less than 2,000 claims associated with recent wildfires, a Labor Department official said.