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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise 11,000 To 261,000

Kitco News

Editor's Note: Updating earlier story to include more details from report.

(Kitco News) - Initial weekly U.S. jobless claims rose by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 261,000 in the week to Saturday, the Labor Department said Thursday.

This was more than consensus forecasts compiled by various news organizations, which called for initial claims to be around 245,000 to 248,000. The government left the prior week’s tally unrevised at 250,000 claims.

“Claims taking procedures continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands,” the Labor Department said, referring to areas hit by storms last year. “The claims taking process in Puerto Rico has still not returned to normal.”

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – was up by 9,000 claims to 250,750.

Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, decreased by 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1,867,000 during the week ending Dec. 30, the government said. This is the lowest level since 1973. The four-week moving average fell by 5,500 to 1,913,250.

Traders monitor jobs data closely to gauge how aggressively the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee alters monetary policy.

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