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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Dip To Five-Month Low

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First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to a five-month low in the week ended September 24th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report showed initial jobless claims slipped to 193,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level of 209,000.

The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the unexpected decline, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 181,000 in the week ended April 23rd.

"While overall economic activity is expected to slow in response to sharply higher interest rates and a weakening global backdrop, the low level of claims is a reminder that labor market conditions remain extremely tight even as we head toward a mild recession next year," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

"The imbalance between the supply and demand for workers, which is putting upward pressure on wages, is a key factor behind the Fed's plans to continue aggressively raising interest rates," she added. "We expect the Fed to raise rates another 125bps this year."

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to a four-month low of 207,000, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week's revised average of 215,750.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell by 29,000 to 1.347 million in the week ended September 17th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dipped to 1,381,250, a decrease of 22,500 from the previous week's revised average of 1,403,750.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of September.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 250,000 jobs in September after surging by 315,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.7 percent.

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