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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Drop More Than Expected To 216,000

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the week ended February 16th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 216,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 239,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 229,000.

Despite the bigger than expected decrease, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average climbed to 235,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 231,750.

With the increase, the four-week moving average reached its highest level since hitting 237,500 in January of 2018.

Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 55,000 to 1.725 million in the week ended February 9th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still rose to 1,754,750, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 1,752,000.

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