Applications for unemployment benefits have increased for a second straight week -- a sign the economy is still recovering at a slow pace.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that weekly applications rose by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000.
Applications had been below 400,000 for three straight weeks.
Economists say the number of people applying for unemployment needs to consistently stay below 375,000. However, the numbers have not been at that level since February.
Still, financial analysts say the recent increases don't suggest the economy is worsening.
"The overall trend in claims is still friendly," said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets in a note to clients. "Don't be too overly concerned with the ups and downs of each week as this is a volatile report."
The federal government is scheduled to release its November report on job growth, Friday.
Economists have predicted that employers added a net 125,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate stayed at 9 percent for the second straight month.