Initial claims rose to 479,000 last week, indicating the jobs market remains weak and will likely slow economic growth. Economists had expected a small drop in claims to 455,000.
The report Thursday comes a day before the Labor Department's monthly report on employment and a day after a better-than-expected report that private hiring rose last month.
Dow Jones industrial average futures are down 24, or 0.2 percent, at 10,61. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures are down 4.40, or 0.4 percent, at 1,120.20, while Nasdaq 100 index futures are down 3.50, or 0.2 percent, at 1,901.75.