Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 229,000 for the week that ended March 17 from an unrevised level of 226,000 in the previous week, the Department of Labor said.
The four-week moving average edged up by 2,250 to 223,750 for the week from last week's unrevised 221,500.
Claims-taking procedures continue to be disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the labor department.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained flat at 1.3% for the week that ended March 10. Insured unemployment dropped by 57,000 to 1,828,000, the lowest since December 1973 when it was at 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up to 1,885,000.