Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell to the lowest level since February 2006, easing concerns 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 July 19 declined by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000 from the previous week's total of 303,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 308,000 last week.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended July 12 fell to 2.500 million from 2.508 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to rise to 2.510 million.
The four-week moving average was 302,000, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week's total of 309,250. 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 trimmed losses against the euro, with EUR/USD easing up 0.03% to trade at 1.3467, compared to 1.3475 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. equity markets was upbeat. The Dow 30 indicated a gain of 0.2% at the open, the S&P 500 pointed to a rise of 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 tacked on 0.3%.
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