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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To 211,000

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended May 18th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 211,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 212,000.

The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected initial jobless claims to inch up to 215,000.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also fell to 220,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 225,000.

Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 12,000 to 1.676 million in the week ended May 11th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also climbed to 1,674,250, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 1,668,750.

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