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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Unchanged At 245,000

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly came in unchanged in the week ended December 23rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 245,000, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 240,000.

The less volatile four-week moving average inched up to 237,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 236,000.

The Labor Department said claims taking procedures continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands, while the claims taking process in Puerto Rico has still not returned to normal.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 7,000 to 1.943 million in the week ended December 16th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell to 1,919,750, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's revised average of 1,924,000.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for December.

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