WASHINGTON -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level since mid-July, another sign of the struggling recovery that could provide more impetus for the Federal Reserve to launch a new round of economic stimulus.
Jobless claims increased to 382,000, up 15,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The figure was above economists' projections of about 370,000.
It was the highest level since the week ending July 14, when 388,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits.
The weekly figures, although seasonally adjusted, can be volatile. But the more stable four-week moving average was 375,000, up 3,250 from last week, and well above the 350,000 level that economists said is consistent with strong job growth.