(By Balaseshan) The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits rose more than forecast, a government data showed.
Jobless claims increased 10,000 to 372,000 last week from the previous week's revised figure of 362,000, while economists projected a rise to 355,000 applications.
The four-week moving average for claims - a less volatile measure than the weekly figures - increased 250 to 360,000 last week, a data from the Labor Department showed.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 22 rose 44,000 to 3.245 million, while economists projected a rise to 3.215 million. The 4-week moving average was about 3.224 million, down 6,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.217 million.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% for the week ending December 22, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 495,588 in the week ending December 29, an increase of 40,459 from the previous week.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% during the week ending December 22, a rise of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs rose 43,722 to 3.293 million from the preceding week.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 22 were in Ohio (up 8,795), Michigan (up 6,641), Pennsylvania (up 5,530), Kentucky (up 4,745), and Massachusetts (up 4,330), while the largest decreases were in California (down 11,789), West Virginia (down 473), Florida (down 450), Arizona (down 192) and South Dakota (down 186).
A separate report showed U.S. economy added more private sector jobs than expected in December. According to the ADP National Employment Report in collaboration with Moody's Analytics, U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs last month, versus economists expectations of an addition of 133,000 jobs and a revised 148,000 jobs in November.
The keenly-awaited Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data and unemployment rate are due on Friday.