Initial jobless claims rose about 2.4% last week, staying higher than 400,000 for the 15th straight week. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended July 16 increased by 10,000 to 418,000 from an upwardly revised 408,000 the previous week. About 1,750 initial claims last week were attributable to Minnesota state employees filing because of the government shutdown, according to the Labor Department. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 415,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 385,000 and 430,000. Most economists believe weekly jobless claims lower than 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, declined by 2,750 to 421,250 from 424,000 the prior week, which was revised upward slightly. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended July 9 slid back to 2.9% from 3% the prior week, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended July 2 fell to more than 7.3 million from 7.48 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.