A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended August 11th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 212,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 214,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average crept up to 215,500, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 214,500.
The report also said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 39,000 to 1.721 million in the week ended August 4th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 1,738,500, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,746,500.