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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Show Modest Decrease

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in the week ended August 3rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 209,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level of 217,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 215,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average crept up to 212,250, an increase of 250 from the previous week's revised average of 212,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 15,000 to 1.684 million in the week ended July 27th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slid to 1,687,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 1,698,250.

Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing U.S. job growth slowed in the month of July but still came in line with economist estimates.

The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 164,000 jobs in July after jumping by a downwardly revised 193,000 jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 164,000 jobs compared to the spike of 224,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent in July, unchanged from June and in line with economist estimates.

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