I wonder if Bernanke is still “stumped” at the news?

(Bloomberg) — More Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week, showing companies are less confident about the expansion than they were earlier this year.

Applications for jobless benefits increased 9,000 in the week ended June 18 to 429,000, Labor Department figures showed today. The level of claims exceeded the highest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey in which the median projection called for 415,000 filings. The number of people on benefit rolls was little changed, while those getting extended payments rose.

Unemployment claims have swelled after dropping to an almost three-year low at the end of February, indicating businesses may be reluctant to hire until demand strengthens. The data underscore Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s comment yesterday that job growth is “frustratingly slow,” a reason policy makers pledged to maintain monetary stimulus.

And here’s the obligatory “unexpectedly” headline:

(Forex) — The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose unexpectedly, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending June 18 rose by 9K to a seasonally adjusted 429K, confounding expectations for a decline to 410K.

The previous week’s figure was revised up to 420K from 414K.

The report showed that continuing jobless claims in the week ended June 11 fell to 3.697 million from a revised 3.698 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing jobless claims to fall to 3.670 million.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar was up sharply against the euro, with EUR/USD tumbling 1.28% to trade at 1.4172.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock future indices added to losses after the release of the data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a drop of 0.75%, S&P 500 futures fell 0.95%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures pointed to a decline of 0.8%.