US jobless claims jump

New claims for US unemployment compensation rose more than expected last week, official data released Thursday showed, pointing to a bumpy recovery in the labor market.

Initial jobless claims rose to 360,000 in the holiday-shortened week ending July 6, an increase of 16,000 from the revised prior week's reading, the Labor Department said.

Most analysts had expected the reading on claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, to come in at 345,000.

A broader measure of claims, the four-week moving average, rose by 6,000 to 351,750 in the week that included the July 4 Independence Day holiday.

The claims numbers generally have been inching lower as the job market improves.

The June jobs report released Friday was much stronger than expected. The United States added 195,000 jobs and the prior two months' job gains were upwardly revised.

Still, the unemployment rate was unchanged from May at 7.6 percent as the number of people in the work force continued to rise.