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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected To 231,000

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A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a bigger than expected increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 29th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 231,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 221,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 220,000 from the 216,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average slipped to 218,750, a decrease of 500 from the previous week's revised average of 219,250.

The report also said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 32,000 to 1.740 million in the week ended December 22nd.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also climbed to 1,703,500, an increase of 26,000 from the previous week's revised average of 1,677,500.

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

Employment is expected to increase by 177,000 jobs in December after rising by 155,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.7 percent.

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