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U.S. Jobless Claims Climb More Than Expected To 219,000

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits climbed by more than expected in the week ended February 22nd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 219,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level of 211,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 212,000 from the 210,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also inched up to 209,750, an increase of 500 from the previous week's revised average of 209,250.

Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 9,000 to 1.724 million in the week ended February 15th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still rose to 1,729,250, an increase of 5,250 from the previous week's revised average of 1,724,000.

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

Economists currently expect employment to increase by about 178,000 jobs February compared to the jump of 225,000 jobs in January.

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