In the week ending July 31, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 479,000, an increase of 19,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 460,000.
NPR's Jim Zarroli says economists had predicted that unemployment claims would fall slightly.
They were wrong.
According to Bloomberg, "a cooling economy means employers will resist taking on more staff in coming months, raising the risk consumer spending will weaken further."
Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Nevada, Alaska, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin reported the highest unemployment rates in the week ending July 17.
Because of the numbers, stock futures fell.
"Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 32, or 0.3 percent, to 10,603," The Associated Press reports. "Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 4.60, or 0.4 percent, to 1,120.00, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 3.25, or 0.2 percent, to 1,902.00."
Tomorrow, the Labor Department will release a report on monthly employment.