In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending December 22 fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, compared to expectations for a decline of 2,000 to 360,000.
Jobless claims for the preceding week were revised up to 362,000 from a previously reported 361,000,
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended December 15 fell to 3.206 million. Analysts had expected continuing claims to fall to 3.200 million from last week's revised figure of 3.238 million.
The four-week moving average was 356,750, a decrease of 12,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000.
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 was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD adding 0.36% to trade at 1.3272.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock future indices were little changed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.1% at the open, S&P 500 futures eased up 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures signaled a flat open.
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