Two new U.S. economic reports point to the country's uneven recovery from the depths of its recession four years ago.
The government said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment aid jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 last week, the biggest one-week increase since last November. Jobless benefit claims, usually an indicator of the pace of worker layoffs, had been falling in recent weeks.
The U.S. jobless rate has fallen to 7.5 percent as the economy has slowly advanced.
Meanwhile, in a separate report, the U.S. said that consumer prices fell by four-tenths of a percent in April from the previous month, largely because gasoline prices dropped as the global demand for fuel fell.
Falling prices could encourage U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the American economy, the world's largest.