Initial US weekly jobless claims surged to 417,000 last week, dimming hopes of an imminent recovery in the jobs market, the US Labor Department said on Thursday.

New claims for unemployment insurance rose in the week to January 20 from a revised 412,000 the previous week, well above the four-week moving average of 407,500.

The department said that for the week to August 6, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits at all levels fell to 7.29 million from 7.34 million the week earlier, and 10.16 million a year earlier.

The US overall unemployment rate remained at a high 9.1 percent in July, with nearly 14 million workers without jobs.