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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Higher


First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged higher in the week ended August 5th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 244,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 241,000.

The uptick came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 240,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average dipped to 241,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised average of 242,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell by 16,000 to 1.951 million in the week ended July 29th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still crept up to 1,965,000, an increase of 500 from the previous week's revised average of 1,964,500.

Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing much stronger than expected job growth in the month of July.

The report said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 209,000 jobs in July after spiking by an upwardly revised 231,000 jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 183,000 jobs compared to the addition of 222,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June. The modest decrease matched economist estimates.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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