The U.S. government says the number of laid-off workers applying for first-time jobless benefits rose slightly more than expected last week.
A Labor Department report Thursday shows the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 584,000 in the week ending July 25. That is above analysts' estimates of 570,000.
Labor Department officials say the seasonal distortions are the result of recent layoffs at two of the three top U.S. auto companies.
Employers in the United States have cut 6.5 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, and the country's unemployment rate recently hit a 26-year-high of 9.5 percent.
On the positive side, the most recent statistics show the number of workers continuing to file jobless claims is about 6.2 million, the lowest it has been since April.