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U.S. jobless claims rise to 1.5 high as labor market slows

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(Kitco News) - The U.S. labor market is starting to lose momentum as more workers than expected apply for first-time unemployment benefits.

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said that weekly jobless claims rose by 22,000 to 264,000, up from the previous week's revised estimate of 229,000 claims.

“This is the highest level for initial claims since October 30, 2021 when it was 264,000,” the report said.

The latest labor market data was significantly weaker than expectations. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see jobless claims rise to 245,000.

The gold market is not seeing any major moves following the weaker-than-expected employment data as it holds solid gains above $2,000 an ounce. Spot gold prices last traded at $2,035.70 an ounce, up 0.27% on the day.

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 – rose to 245,250, an increase of 6,000 claims from the previous week's revised average.

“This is the highest level for this average since November 20, 2021 when it was 249,250,” the report said.

Continuing jobless claims, which represent the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 1.813 million during the week ending April 29, increasing by 12,000 from the previous week's revised level.

According to some market analysts gold could to benefit from weakening momentum in the U.S. labor market. Rising unemployment raises the risk that the U.S. economy will fall into a recession at the same time it further confirms that the Federal Reserve has ended its tightening cycle.

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