The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 62,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 in the week ended Sept. 2, the Labor Department said on Thursday. This is the highest level in more than two years.
Data for the prior week was not revised.
Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims rising to 241,000 in the latest week.
The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 131 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, rose by 13,500 to 250,250 last week.
The surge in jobless claims is due to the Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Application for unemployment benefits in Texas surged by an unadjusted 51,637 last week.
The labor market is close to full employment. Unemployment rate held at 1.4 percent.