The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose by a larger-than-expected amount last week.
The Labor Department says the number of applications for jobless benefits jumped by 20,000 to 339,000, the highest total in a month.
The increase was double what economists had been expecting.
It partly reflects the impact of the California wildfires and a writers' strike, which has shut down a lot of TV production.
The increase occurred after three consecutive weekly declines.
The four-week average for claims remained unchanged at 330,000.