Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. fell less than expected, but remained in territory usually associated with a firming labor market, 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 January 1 decreased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000 from the previous week’s total of 287,000, which was the highest since mid-July. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 275,000 last week.
First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 43 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended December 25 rose to 2.230 million from 2.205 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to fall to 2.193 million.
The four-week moving average was 275,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's 270,750. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 98.80, compared to 98.78 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open. The Dow futures pointed to a loss of 380 points, or 2.24%, the S&P 500 futures indicated a decline of 45 points, or 2.25%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 129 points, or 2.9%.
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