(Bloomberg) -- Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose last week to the highest level since January, led by increased filings in Kentucky and California. 

Initial unemployment claims increased by 21,000 to 218,000 in the week ended May 14, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 200,000 initial applications. 

Continuing claims for state benefits dropped to 1.32 million in the week ended May 7, the lowest since 1969.

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