More people sought unemployment benefits last week, pushing the number of applicants to the highest level in two months.
The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications jumped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000. The previous week's figures were also revised higher. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 368,500.
After steadily declining since last fall, applications have leveled off in recent weeks. The four-week average is essentially unchanged over the past two months.
When applications fall below 375,000, it generally suggests that hiring will be strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
The figures come after a disappointing employment report last week that showed employers added only 120,000 jobs in March, half the average pace in the preceding three months.