The number for the comparable week in 2011 was 414,000. Claims have not been above 400,000 since mid-October of last year.
The four-week moving average, which most analysts prefer because it flattens the volatility of the weekly figure, rose to 368,000, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 364,250.
For both state and federal programs, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending August 4 was 5,594,498. That was a decrease of 109,812 from the previous week.
As always, too much should not be read into a single report. The trend is what matters. Over the course of the past year, that trend has been downward, but a lot flatter than the downward trend in 2011. Benefit reports for August suggest that the monthly jobs report coming September 7 will likely be in the same range or slightly lower than the one released at the beginning of this month. That showed 163,000 seasonally adjusted jobs created in July, 150,000 more people leaving the labor market, and an uptick in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent.