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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rebound More Than Expected

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As the closely watched monthly jobs report looms, the Labor Department released a separate report on Thursday showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rebounded by more than expected in the week ended October 1st.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 219,000, an increase of 29,000 from the previous week's revised level of 190,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 200,000 from the 193,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The revised figure for the previous week reflects the lowest number of jobless claims since the week ended April 23rd.

"We won't read too much into one week's claims data, but if an upward trend persists, it would be consistent with other recent indicators pointing to some loosening of labor market conditions," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also crept up to 206,500, an increase of 250 from the previous week's revised four-month low of 206,250.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also edged up by 15,000 to 1.362 million in the week ended September 24th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still dipped to 1,370,750, a decrease of 10,250 from the previous week's revised average of 1,381,000.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on employment 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.

"Any easing of labor market conditions will be welcome by the Fed but won't change the FOMC's plans to continue to raise rates in an effort to bring down inflation," said Vanden Houten.

She added, "The labor market should still be characterized as tight, with the ratio of job openings to unemployed workers still elevated in August despite a small decline."

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