The numbers: Initial jobless claims rose by 6,000 to 186,000 in the week ended Jan. 21, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would rise 15,000 to 205,000.
Last week claims fell a revised 14,000 to 192,000. That compared with the initial estimate of a decline of 15,000 to 190,000.
Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits rose by 20,000 to 1.68 million.
On an unadjusted basis, claims fell by 63,849 to 224,481.
Only two states reported a rise in unadjusted claims in the latest week.
Big picture: Layoffs appear to be spreading out of the technology sector but have yet to dent the strong job market. This could mean that a recession may come later or not at all. Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, says companies are holding onto workers because they believe any recession is going to be shallow.
Market reaction: Stocks
were set to open higher on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose to 3.49%.