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US jobless claims ease after prior week's jump

New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell back to the longer-term trendline last week after a surge in the previous period, the US Labour Department said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell back to the longer-term trendline last week after a surge in the previous period, the US Labour Department said on Thursday.

New claims, which indicate the pace of layoffs across the US economy, fell to 331,000 in the week to February 1, down from 351,000 the previous week.

The newest weekly figure was closely in line with the pace of claims since the beginning of the year, with the four-week average at 334,000, slightly higher than a week earlier.

The report added to confidence for a modestly firm January jobs report to be released Friday.

Analysts expect a rebound from December's surprisingly poor data, predicting that 175,000 net new jobs were generated last month, with the unemployment rate holding at 6.7 percent.

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