Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell more than expected, fuelling optimism over the strength of the 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 August 16 decreased by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 312,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 300,000 last week.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended August 9 declined to 2.500 million from 2.549 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to fall to 2.518 million.
The four-week moving average was 300,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week's total of 296,000. 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 held on to losses against the euro, with EUR/USD rising 0.02% to trade at 1.3262, compared to 1.3264 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. equity markets was modestly higher. The Dow indicated a gain of 0.25%, the S&P 500 pointed to a rise of 0.2%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated an increase of 0.15%.
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