Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected, but remained in territory usually associated with a firming 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 March 26 increased by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 276,000 from the previous week's total of 265,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to hold steady at 265,000 last week.
First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 55 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended March 19 fell to 2.173 million from 2.180 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to inch up to 2.205 million.
The four-week moving average was 263,250, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's 259,500. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.
EUR/USD was trading at 1.1393 from around 1.1390 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.4379 from 1.4377 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 112.29 from 112.31 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 94.47, compared to 94.48 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a modestly higher open. The Dow futures rose 12 points, or 0.07%, the S&P 500 futures inched up 1 point, or 0.05%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures tacked on 1 points, or 0.01%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,234.90 a troy ounce, compared to $1,235.30 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $38.48 a barrel from $38.47 earlier.
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