Initial jobless claims rose by 278,000 for the week ended January 31.
Expectations were for claims to total 290,000.
The week prior, claims totaled 265,000, the lowest weekly total in 15 years.
Last week's claims number was revised up slightly to 267,000.
On Twitter, Bespoke Investment Group noted that this is the first time since April 2000 that claims were below 280,000 in back-to-back weeks.
The four-week moving average of claims also ticked lower, to 292,750, 6,500 lower than the prior week.
This is the last piece of labor market data before Friday's big January jobs report.
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