U.S. Jobless Claims Rise to Highest Level Since February

In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Gipson, of Atlanta, right, has his resume looked over by Ralph Brown, a management and program analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a job fair for veterans at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga. The government reports on job openings and labor turnover for September on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)
In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Gipson, of Atlanta, right, has his resume looked over by Ralph Brown, a management and program analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a job fair for veterans at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga. The government reports on job openings and labor turnover for September on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)
In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Gipson, of Atlanta, right, has his resume looked over by Ralph Brown, a management and program analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a job fair for veterans at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)

(Reuters) – New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose last week to their highest level since February, suggesting some slowdown in the labor market recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 for the week that ended July 4, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Thursday.

Even with the rise in claims, the latest report marks the 18th consecutive week of new filings below 300,000, which is considered consistent with a firming labor market.

The previous week’s claims were revised to 282,000, showing that 1,000 more people filed than initially reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected new applications to fall to 275,000 last week.

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