First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 last week to 417,000, the US labour department said Thursday.
The rolling four-week average of initial jobless claims, which is seen as a more reliable reflection of underlying trends, climbed by 4,000 to 407,500.
Any figure below 400,000 is thought to signal an improving job market.
In the week ending Aug 6, the number of US residents receiving state or federal unemployment benefits declined by nearly 46,000 to 7.29 million.
State benefits usually end after 26 weeks, but federal emergency programmes adopted in the face of the worst economic downturn since the 1930s provide benefits for up to 99 weeks.
The US economy created 117,000 net new jobs in July, bringing the official unemployment rate down by a tenth of a percentage point to 9.1 percent.
Nearly 14 million people remain out of work more than two years after a recession that destroyed 8.4 million jobs, while the workforce participation rate - the proportion of the population working or seeking work - declined last month to 63.9 percent, the lowest since 1984.