By Vicki Needham - 06/17/10 03:56 PM EDT
New jobless claims rose unexpectedly by 12,000 last week, reflecting continued weakness in the job market.
Claims increased to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 for the week ending June 12, the highest level in a month, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.
The four-week moving average, which smooths out the volatility of the weekly number, dropped 500 from the previous week's revised average of 464,000.
The number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell 255,000 to 4.46 million, the lowest level since December 2008.
Economists argue that jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector.
The unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent in May on the creation of more than 400,000 jobs. But most of those jobs were temporary government jobs for the federal Census, not from the private sector.