June 17 (UPI) -- Unemployment claims in the United States are up for the first time in six weeks, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.
The department said there were 412,000 new claims last week, an increase of 37,000. The report also revised down the prior week's claims by 1,000.
Most analysts expected about 360,000 new claims.
Thursday's figure marks the first time since May 15 that initial claims were higher than 400,000.
The overall number of Americans receiving benefits fell more than 500,000, the report said.
By comparison, there were 1.4 million new unemployment claims for the same week in 2020.
"Factors related to the pandemic, such as caregiving needs, ongoing fears of the virus and unemployment insurance payments appear to be weighing on employment growth," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters Wednesday.
"These factors should wane in coming months against a backdrop of rising vaccinations leading to more rapid gains in employment."
The department said there were 3.5 million continuing claims last week, which lag initial claims by a week.