Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. fell unexpectedly last week, hitting their lowest level in five weeks.
The U.S. Department of Labor said that the number of individuals applying for initial jobless benefits in the seven days ended Jan. 12 decreased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 213,000.
Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 3,000 to 219,000 last week from the previous week’s total of 216,000.
The four-week moving average was 220,750, a decline of 1,000 from the previous week. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended Jan. 5 rose to 1.737 million from 1.719 million in the preceding week, compared to expectations for an increase to 1.735 million. These claims reflect people who recently lost their jobs and are already receiving benefits.