- The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell to a six-week low, fuelling optimism over the U.S. 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 11 declined by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 328,000.

Analysts had expected U.S. jobless claims to hold steady at 328,000 last week.

Continuing jobless claims in the week ended January 4 rose to 3.030 million from 2.856 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to fall to 2.848 million.

The four-week moving average was 335,000, a decrease of 13,500 from the previous week''s average of 348,500. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar inched lower against the euro, with EUR/USD adding 0.05% to trade at 1.3612, compared to 1.3604 ahead of the data.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.3% at the open, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.3%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a downtick of 0.25% at the open.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger