Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. rose to the highest level since mid-July last week, 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 December 25 increased by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 from the previous week’s total of 267,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 3,000 to 270,000 last week.
First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 42 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended December 18 rose to 2.198 million from 2.195 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to rise to 2.201 million.
The four-week moving average was 277,000, an increase of 4,500 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 98.55, compared to 98.57 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open. The Dow futures pointed to a loss of 40 points, or 0.23%, the S&P 500 futures indicated a decline of 5 points, or 0.26%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 12 points, or 0.24%.
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