The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to a two-month high, interrupting a steady decrease to the lowest level since before the last recession.

Jobless claims climbed by 11,000 to 315,000 in the week ended Sept. 6, which included the Labor Day holiday, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. It was the highest reading since June 28 and exceeded the Bloomberg survey median forecast of 300,000. The data are difficult to adjust during holiday periods, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released.

Initial claims have been hovering near pre-recession lows as the labor market continues to gather strength on the heels of stronger demand. Bigger gains in hiring are probably needed to reduce slack in the labor market and prompt employers to boost wages, which could propel consumer spending.

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