Initial jobless claims rose nearly 6% last week but remained lower than 400,000, as they have for most of the past three months.

The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Jan. 21 increased to 377,000 from 356,000 the previous week, which was revised upward 4,000.

Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 370,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 345,000 and 380,000. Most economists believe weekly claims below 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening.

The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, decreased by 2,500 claims to 377,500 from the prior week’s revised 380,000.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended Jan. 14 rose to 2.8% from an unrevised 2.7%, according to the Labor Department.

The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Jan. 7 fell to nearly 7.64 million from 7.82 million the prior week.

Write to Jason Philyaw.

Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw.

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