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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Inch Higher After Recent Downtrend

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After reporting modest decreases in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits for five straight weeks, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing an uptick in jobless claims in the week ended September 17th.

The report showed initial jobless claims inched up to 213,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level of 208,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 218,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The modest increase came after jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since the week ended May 28th in the previous week.

"While overall economic activity is expected to slow, leading to a mild recession in H1 2023, the low level of claims is a reminder that labor market conditions remain extremely tight," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead US Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, "The imbalance between the supply and demand for workers is key factor behind the Fed's plans to continue aggressively raising interest rates."

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average slipped to a three-month low of 216,750, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 222,750.

The report showed continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also dipped by 22,000 to 1.379 million in the week ended September 10th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also edged down to 1,404,750, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average of 1,413,000.

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