Economists forecast 420,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
The average number of claims in the past month rose for a fifth straight week, to the highest level since July 16.
An elevated level of dismissals raises the odds U.S. companies may put off plans to increase employment, making it difficult for joblessness to fall below 9 percent.
Citing ongoing weakness in the labor market, Federal Reserve policy makers announced yesterday they would use another unconventional monetary tool to spur economic growth and job gains.
“These numbers are consistent with a job market that is essentially in suspended animation,” said Brian Jones, an economist Societe Generale in New York, who correctly forecast the level of claims.