(Bloomberg) — Applications for unemployment benefits climbed last week to a level that's consistent with progress in the labor market.

Jobless claims rose by 25,000 to 304,000 in the week ended Feb. 7, higher than forecast, from a revised 279,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median projection of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 287,000. The four-week average dropped to the lowest since mid-November.

"There's probably a little bit of loss of momentum at the moment, maybe related to the weather," said David Sloan, senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York. "Overall, the labor market looks pretty strong."

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