The Labor department claims the increase is partly due to the affects of Hurricane Issac, which may account for as many as 9,000 of the new unemployment claims.
While the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 last week, the highest level in two months, according to a Fox News report
, more significantly, it's the fourth weekly increase in claims, raising the four-week average to 375,000.
Applications for unemployment benefits often mirror the rate of layoffs and 375,000 is not a low enough number of new claims to suggest the economy is moving forward. Most analysts say 375,000 is at best a breakeven point, meaning no change in the national unemployment rate.
The increase in weekly unemployment claims was released on the heels of a disappointing jobs report last week. The nation added about 96,000 jobs in August
, far below July's gain of 141,000 and far below the average 226,000 a month added in the January-March quarter.
Analysts say the country should be generating more than 240,000 jobs per month
consistently in order to move the unemployment figure.