Initial Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise to 484,000

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the week ending Aug. 7 as the slowing economy hits labor markets.

Jobless claims rose 2,000 to 484,000, the Department of Labor said in a statement. That's the highest in almost six months. The revised figure for the previous week was 482,000.

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve warned that the economic recovery would be slower than expected, and that factors including lower housing wealth and a lack of available credit were constraining household spending. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the U.S. economy.

"The improvement in the labor market is stalling," Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's told Bloomberg News before the report. "The uncertainty in the outlook is going to keep businesses reluctant to hire."

A survey of 42 economists carried out by Bloomberg News forecast that claims would fall to 465,000.

The four-week moving average, a clearer measure of unemployment trends, rose 14,250 to 473,500, the Department of Labor said. The revised average for the previous week was 459,250,