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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Unchanged At 209,000

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits came in unchanged in the week ended October 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 209,000, unchanged compared to the previous week’s revised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 210,000 from the 207,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 206,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 209,250.

With the dip, the four-week moving average fell to its lowest level since hitting 203,250 in the week ended February 4th.

The report also said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 30,000 to 1.702 million in the week ended September 30th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also crept up to 1,674,250, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,669,500.

“Recent readings on jobless claims and the September jobs report are consistent with a labor market that is still relatively strong despite some signs of cooling,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

“Conditions in the labor market are playing a key role in Fed policy decisions,” she added. “While the FOMC may refrain from further rate hikes, officials will need to see additional softness in the labor market before contemplating any cuts.”

Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing employment in the U.S. surged by much more than expected in the month of September.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment shot up by 336,000 jobs in September after jumping by an upwardly revised 227,000 jobs in August.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 170,000 jobs compared to the addition of 187,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate in September came in unchanged from August at 3.8 percent. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 3.7 percent.

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