US jobless claims up slightly

New claims for US unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, after a steeper-than-expected drop at the start of April, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, dropped 1.1 percent percent to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 in the week ending April 13, according to the data. Analysts had expected an increase of 355,000.

The four-week moving average of jobless claims rose for the fourth week in a row, to 361,250.

The US unemployment rate stands at 7.6 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.

mj-dw/sg