U.S. initial jobless claims rise by 24,000 to 329,000

The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected, underlining concerns over the strength of the labor market, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 19 increased by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 305,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 310,000 last week.

Continuing jobless claims in the week ended April 12 fell to 2.680 million from 2.741 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to increase to 2.750 million.

The four-week moving average was 316,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s total of 312,000. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar held on to modest losses against the euro, with EUR/USD rising 0.04% to trade at 1.3823.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a gain of 0.3%, S&P 500 futures indicated a rise of 0.55%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures signaled an increase of 1.65%.