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Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose for a third straight week, led by another surge in California and reflecting choppiness in weekly data.

Initial unemployment claims in regular state programs rose to 362,000 in the week ended September 25, a seven-week high, according to Labor Department data. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a decrease, to 330,000 new applications.

Meanwhile, continuing claims for state benefits fell to 2.8 million in the week ended September 18.


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