U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Climb To Highest Level Since July

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Ahead of the release of the monthly jobs report next week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended December 26th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 287,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 267,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 270,000.

With the bigger than expected increase, jobless claims rose to their highest level since hitting 296,000 in the week ended July 4th.

The less volatile four-week moving average also edged up to 277,000, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 272,500.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also crept up by 3,000 to 2.198 million in the week ended December 19th.

The four-week moving average of continues claims rose to 2,220,250, an increase of 9,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,211,000.

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

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