Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose less than expected, holding close to the lowest level since 1973, official data showed on Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 11 increased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 from the previous week's total of 234,000.
Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 11,000 to 245,000 last week.
The four-week moving average was 245,250, up 500 from the previous week. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended February 4 fell to 2.076 million from 2.079 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to inch down to 2.051 million.
USD/JPY was at 113.70 from around 113.59 ahead of the release of the data, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0639 from around 1.0650 earlier, while GBP/USD was at 1.2493 from 1.2503.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 100.67, compared to 100.64 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open. The blue-chip Dow futures dipped 9 points, or less than 0.1%, the S&P 500 futures shed 2 points, or 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 4 points, or less than 0.1%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,237.45 a troy ounce, compared to $1,239.15 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.38 a barrel from $53.39 earlier.
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