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U.S. jobless claims drop last week

Xinhua Financein WASHINGTON
2019-01-11 08:43

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The number of initial jobless claims decreased last week in the United States, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor department on Thursday.

In the week which ends on Jan. 5, the number of people filing for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 17,000 from previous week's revised figure to 216,000, said the report.

The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 231,000 to 233,000, according to the report.

The reading dropped this week amid federal government shutdown. However, the figure was still below the 300,000 threshold, which signals a tight labor market.

The reading reached 202,000 in mid-September 2018, which was the lowest level since December 1969.

The report also showed that four-week average of initial claims decreased 2,500 to 221,750 last week, as the previous week's four-week average was revised up 500 from 218,750 to 219,250.

For the whole picture of the job market, the unemployment rate edged up 0.2 percentage point to 3.9 percent in December, from a nearly five-decade low of 3.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Jan. 4.

Even though the unemployment rate remained at a low level, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point in December 2018.

However, the central bank signaled a slower pace of tightening and cut the estimated numbers of rate hikes in 2019 from 3 to 2, as the economy was expected to slow down and volatility in financial market rose. 

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