Initial jobless claims increased by 31,000, rising to 473,000 for the week ending Feb. 13, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
Continuing claims were unchanged for the week ending Feb. 6 from the previous week's revised figure of 4.563 million, originally reported as 4.538 million.
Initial jobless claims have increased in five of the first seven weeks this year.
There were 631,000 initial claims in the comparable week last year.
Initial claims for the week ending Feb. 6 were revised higher to 442,000 from the 440,000 initially reported.
Economists expected 430,000 initial claims and 4.500 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.