The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose to the highest level since late-March, dampening 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 December 14 increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 379,000.
Analysts had expected U.S. jobless claims to fall by 35,000 to 334,000 last week from the previous week’s revised total of 369,000.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended December 7 rose to 2.884 million from 2.790 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to decline to 2.780 million.
The four-week moving average was 343,500, an increase of 13,250 from the previous week''s average of 330,250. 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 remained modestly lower against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.09% to trade at 1.3673.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, S&P 500 futures indicated a drop of 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures signaled a decline of 0.2%.
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