Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. 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 January 29 increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 285,000 from the previous week's total of 277,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 3,000 to 282,000 last week.
First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 48 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended January 22 fell to 2.255 million from 2.273 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to drop to 2.240 million.
The four-week moving average was 284,750, a gain of 2,000 from the previous week's 282,750. 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 1.1225 from around 1.1219 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.4645 from 1.4635 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 117.09 from 117.23 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 96.38, compared to 96.44 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open. The Dow futures shed 69 points, or 0.42%, the S&P 500 futures dipped 10 points, or 0.5%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 23 points, or 0.54%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,152.60 a troy ounce, compared to $1,152.00 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $32.16 a barrel from $32.00 earlier.
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