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U.S. Jobless Claims Pull Back More Than Expected To 900,000

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After reporting a much bigger than expected increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing initial jobless claims pulled back in the week ended January 16th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 900,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level of 926,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 910,000 from the 965,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Even with the downward revision, the number of claims in the previous week represented the most since reaching 1.011 million in the week ended August 22nd.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 848,000, an increase of 23,500 from the previous week's revised average of 824,500.

"Fiscal stimulus prospects, along with broader vaccine diffusion, are pointing to a brightening labor market outlook but with the pandemic still raging, claims are poised to remain elevated in the near-term," said Lydia Boussour, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

The report also said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, slid by 127,000 to 5.054 million in the week ended January 9th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 5,126,250, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week's revised average of 5,193,250.

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