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Gold prices remain down as U.S. weekly jobless claims hold steady at 217K

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(Kitco News) - The gold market remains under pressure, trying to hold critical support around $1,950 an ounce and is largely ignoring elevated weakness in the U.S. labor market.

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 217,000, up from the previous week's revised estimate of 220,000 claims.

The latest labor market data was relatively in line with expectations. Although initial unemployment claims are roughly unchanged from last week, they are holding at their highest level since early September.

The gold market is not seeing much reaction to the latest numbers as the market sees solid selling pressure. December gold futures last traded at $1,951.80 an ounce, down 0.35%. According to some analysts, the latest labor market data should provide some support for the precious metal as it shows growing slack in the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve has said that it needs to see some weakness in the U.S. labor market before it starts looking at potential rate cuts.

Meanwhile, 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 212,250, an increase of 1,500 claims from the previous week's revised average of 237,250.

While the number of workers applying for first-time unemployment is relatively steady, the number of people still receiving benefits continues to rise, indicating that more workers are finding it difficult to find a new job.

Continuing jobless claims, representing the number of people already receiving benefits, were 1.834 million during the week ending Oct. 28, rising by 22,000 from the previous week's revised level.

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