By Nathalie Voit

Initial unemployment claims rose to their highest level since mid-January last week, the Department of Labor said in a news release posted on June 9.

First-time filings for the week ending June 4 advanced 27,000 to 229,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised figure. Wall Street had anticipated a 210,000 increase for the period covering Memorial Day, putting last week’s number well above the Dow Jones estimate. The department said the last time claims were that high was January 15.

Continuing claims, which run one week behind, remain unchanged at 1.31 million. FactSet had predicted continued claims to hit 1.35 million for the week. 

The department said the 4-week moving average for continuing claims dropped slightly to 1.32 million, the lowest level for the average since January 10, 1970.

Overall, the report showed weekly initial claims for unemployment above consensus despite an otherwise strong labor showing.

The news comes just three days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls surged by 390,000 in May, significantly better than projected.