U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday as the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly, highlighting the bumpy ride for employment as economic growth picks up.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> declined 4.69 points, or 0.04 percent, to 11,750.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> edged down 0.18 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,285.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 2.22 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,735.11.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh)