New claims for US unemployment benefits rose last week, building on a worrying upward trend in the pace of layoffs, the government said Thursday.
The Labor Department reported 386,000 jobless claims were filed in the week ending June 9, an increase of 6,000 claims from the prior week's upwardly revised number.
The four-week moving average of new claims, an indicator of the trend in layoffs, increased by 3,500 to 382,000.
"More evidence suggesting that job growth is slowing further," said Jennifer Lee at BMO Capital Markets.
"So far, it appears that the trend of slowing job growth -- which began in February, then March, then April, then May -- is stretching into June."
Since hitting an April low at 368,000, new jobless claims have been tracking higher in fits and starts as businesses remain reluctant to add new jobs amid a sluggish economy.
The unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May and the United States added only 69,000 jobs, by far the smallest number of net new positions in a year.