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U.S. weekly jobless claims rise to 248K

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(Kitco News) - Positive momentum in the U.S. labor market appears to have slowed as more workers than expected applied for first-time unemployment benefits.

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said that weekly jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000, down from the previous week's revised estimate of 205,000 claims.

The latest labor market data missed expectations. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see jobless claims hold steady around 217,000. This is the first time in four week that jobless claims has risen more than expected.

The gold market is seeing strong momentum Thursday but the weak labor market data has not added much. April gold futures last traded at $1,897.40 an ounce, up 1.41% on the day.

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The four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it flattens week-to-week volatility – fell to 243,250, down by 10,500 claims from the previous week's revised average.

Continuing jobless claims, which represent the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 1.593 million during the week ending Feb 5, falling by 26,000 from the previous week's revised level.

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