The number of Americans filing for state unemployment benefits increased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 218,000 last week.
Labor Department data released Thursday also revised up the previous week by 1,000 to 213,000.
Economists had forecast a rise to 215,000.
Jobless claims can be volatile. To get a better gauge of the health of the labor market, economists look to the four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out the lumpiness of weekly claims. This fell by 500 last week to 214,750.